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These are answers that tomder55 has provided in

tonyrey asked on 09/15/07 - To what extent is selfishness self-destructive?


tomder55 answered on 09/17/07:

Rand was recognized by the NY Slimes last week during the 50th Anniverary of 'Atlas Shrugged' .They revealed that among others Alan Greenspan is a devotee of Rand.He was attracted to “her moral defense of capitalism” according to the Slimes.

All your life, you have heard yourself denounced; not for your faults, but for your greatest virtues. You have been hated, not for your mistakes, but for your achievements. You have been scorned for all those qualities of character which are your highest pride. You have been called selfish for the courage of acting on your own judgment and bearing sole responsibility for your own life. You have been called arrogant for your independent mind. You have been called cruel for your unyielding integrity. You have been called anti-social for the vision that made you venture upon undiscovered roads. You have been called ruthless for the strength and self-discipline of your drive to your purpose. You have been called greedy for the magnificence of your power to create wealth. You, who’ve expended an inconceivable flow of energy, have been called a parasite. You, who’ve created abundance where there had been nothing but wastelands and helpless, starving men before you, have been called a robber. You, who’ve kept them all alive, have been called an exploiter. You, the purest and most moral man among them, have been sneered at as a ‘vulgar materialist.’ Have you stopped to ask them: by what right? — by what code? — by what standard?
Ayn Rand

“Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation’s troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers.
In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen.”
Ayn Rand

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Mary_Susan asked on 09/11/07 - Are Governmental Bureaucracies Always "Bad"?

Tonyrey mentioned a couple of questions ago that Switzerland was a true democracy and cast bureaucracies as being intrinsically "bad", a part of government that separates the people from ruling power.

But, isn't it correct that bureaucracies aren't all "bad"??

tomder55 answered on 09/12/07:

"That a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity"
Alexander Hamilton

The problem with bureaucracies in my view is entrenchment . They are full of unelected decision makers who can wait out the decisions of the elected leadership knowing eventually the leader will be gone ,but they will remain. That means that if there is corruption in the institution (and invariably there is when so many have a stake in the permanence of their job )it is resistant to reform.

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tonyrey asked on 09/05/07 - Do you agree with Jefferson about honesty?

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest."

tomder55 answered on 09/12/07:

Jefferson is an example of the classic do as I say ;not as I do politician . He was a great thinker and philosopher ,but his actions as a leader and a man did not match his rhetoric.

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tonyrey asked on 09/07/07 - Where does genuine democracy exist?


tomder55 answered on 09/12/07:

The Swiss have a form of initiative and referendum which makes them to a degree a participatory democracy . But they still have a bicameral legislature ,a President ,and judiciary which makes them a representative deomcracy . They are also a Republic with multi-layers of government .

I do not think that "genuine democracy " (I guess that means in the classic Athenian sense)can exist in large Nations ;although there are some who say that with improved technology it is possible for the decision making do be done totally by referendum via computers. I for one think that representative democracy is genuine democracy but it requires an engaged citizenry to be truely effective.

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tonyrey asked on 08/07/07 - Scientifically inexplicable events- your views?


tomder55 answered on 08/09/07:

I agree with Crow that there is no reason to assume that events cannot eventually have a scientific explanation but I also think there is no reason to think that science will ever be able to explain everything . Let's forget miracles is a wonderful thing . The more science explains the more wonderful God's creation seems.

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tonyrey asked on 07/26/07 - What truth is there in Nietzsche's views?


tomder55 answered on 07/26/07:

I cite Nietzsche when discussing the truth of his views. In his views there is no truth .

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MarySusan asked on 07/18/07 - Communication and Fantasy

From a philosophical viewpoint, what do you think is the reason for the television programs which show communication with the dead and show dead people interacting with reality?

Why all these shows at a time in history when science has never been so powerful and valid?

tomder55 answered on 07/21/07:

And here you say you are an atheist . You're god is science.

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Jon1667 asked on 07/02/07 - The Oppressed

I note that two of the oppressed terrorists who had no opportunities in Britain were physicians. There must be cognitive dissonance going on somewhere. Don't you think?

tomder55 answered on 07/03/07:

First Do no Harm

tonyrey asked on 07/01/07 - What are your most cherished beliefs and values?


tomder55 answered on 07/02/07:

I believe my existence has a reason . I believe there is more to existence than physical presence. I think my actions have meaning and consequences beyond this life.

Yesterday on my weekend hike I almost stepped on a rattle snake. It was sunning itself right on the trail ;something I had never seen before or anticipated .My guard was down . The snake hissed and retreated its tail rattling the whole time . Had it not evolved this early warning system I would've had a very unpleasant encounter with it . That furthered my belief that evolution is purpose driven and not a matter of chance. I also think it would be arrogant of me to try to presume that I understand why God does what God does. Faith is a wonderful thing.

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MarySusan asked on 06/05/07 - The Road to Destruction in America?

"Today, as China looms large as a growing scientific and technological superpower, is a very poor time for the United States to take two steps back. The new creationism “museum” in Kentucky is a giant leap backward. I am not going to go through the facts, the volumes of confirming evidence favoring the theory of evolution by natural selection. There’s little sense resuscitating a galloping, conscious horse. But it is worth addressing what the opening of this attraction means for the United States at this particular moment, and the ***MISCONCEPTIONS OF WHICH RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISTS AND POSTMODERNISTS ALIKE ARE GUILTY** in condoning the slander of empiricism and the scientific method.

Not every method of inquiry is equal. Since the dawn of the scientific revolution, we have learned one thing consistently: observation and evidence provide reliable knowledge. Revelation does not. Religious texts gave us a skewed view of a universe that was created for our benefit and took us and our planet as its center. As observation of the heavens revealed things not predicted by sacred texts, the Church tried first desperately to suppress those observations, then struggled to reinterpret the texts to allow for dogma and scientific truth to somehow coexist without contradiction.

Finally, well into the Enlightenment, “enlightened” religion admitted that religious texts could not be literally true and must largely be conceived as metaphors. All but the most recalcitrant believers became convinced that science works for worldly things and that religion should pertain only to the realm of the spiritual. For a time, as the nation whose enlightenment legacies included a constitutional separation of church and state, the United States rose as a great technological and scientific power. Before World War II, our technological ascension was fueled by pragmatic and entrepreneurial hard work. Inventors led the way, encouraged by a more-or-less affordable patent system and a market-driven desire to improve everyday living through the development of useful tools.

The spirit of American invention was rooted, of course, in empiricism. The process of trial and error led Thomas Edison to try a legendary number of filament materials before settling on that used for the last century in incandescent bulbs. Technological progress and the pace of invention was fueled by market forces, but American scientific supremacy was the result of necessity created by the advent of World War II. By harnessing the talents of fleeing European scientists as well as domestic scientists and technologists, and building a scientific and financial infrastructure that would germinate the National Science Foundation, America would rise in the 1950s and 60s to be a true scientific superpower.
At the heart of U.S. scientific supremacy was a Cold-War driven competitiveness and investment in scientific education and research. We prevailed. We reached the moon in the symbolic culmination of our scientific journey from Scopes trial to spacefarers. Our success was built upon the proven role of evidence in overcoming obstacles and achieving dreams.

We observe radioactive decay and know that it happens at certain rates. The rocks of this world are billions of years old. We also observe the light from suns billions of light-years away and, knowing that light travels at a fixed rate, calculate that the universe is at least 14 billion years old. The evidence is overwhelming. Ultimately, one silly museum that ignores it doesn’t threaten our scientific future. But it is clearly symptomatic of the sorry state of science in the United States and an indication that we are losing ground in ways that ought to concern us. Although the money raised is private, and thankfully not governmental, it displays a strange thrust of our priorities.

More than half of those completing Ph.D.s in science in the United States now come from abroad. In a few short years, the Chinese will have a strong space program. Our own aged fleet of shuttles has been virtually grounded. American schoolchildren’s knowledge of science and math decline steadily for each year of education. According to the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), U.S. students “remain primarily in the middle of rankings among those nations that are most advanced or nations that have taken part in TIMSS consistently since the study’s first assessment.” The rankings are of forty-six developed nations.

Next year, the CERN physics laboratory in Switzerland will complete its Large Hadron Supercollider in an effort to find the final link in the standard model of particle physics. The United States essentially opted out of the race to understand matter when Congress defunded the Superconducting Supercollider in the early 1990s. It’s beginning to look like the next few decades of scientific achievement will occur abroad, and Americans will become spectators, with only our fading military superiority as the last bastion of our national pride. And so it bears asking, what does it indicate about us as a nation when $25 million is raised and spent on a “museum” with as much scientific value as Space Mountain? I fear it shows how the mighty have fallen." David Koepsell, Exec Dir. Council of Secular Humanism in On-Line Newsletter
*capital letters mine*

Was the goal of the now defunct Christo-Republican political movement which culminated in the Bush Presidendy to hobble American schools, create a nation of predominately ignorant automatons, destroy civil liberties, create an imperial Presidency which in effect, would turn America into a dictatorship. All in order to bully and control the rest of the world? Or, something like that???

tomder55 answered on 06/06/07:

Seems like Evita Clinton and the rest of the Democrat contenders have no problem invoking religion when it serves their political purposes. This is from today's Washington Compost:The Democrats' Leap of Faith

By Ruth Marcus
Wednesday, June 6, 2007; A23

You know it's a different kind of candidate forum when Hillary Clinton allows that she sometimes prays (no doubt, she says, to some divine eye-rolling) "Oh, Lord, why can't you help me lose weight?" and describes how "prayer warriors" sustained her through the public dissection of her husband's infidelity.

When Barack Obama muses on the nature of good vs. evil. When John Edwards recounts that he "strayed away from the Lord" in adulthood, only to find that "my faith came roaring back" after the death of his 16-year-old son.

This is not Michael Dukakis's Democratic Party. Instead, as was shown by Monday night's forum on faith, sponsored by CNN and the liberal evangelical group Sojourners, it is a party on a mission: to make inroads into Republicans' ability to attract and, more important, turn out religious voters.

"The biggest thing is that it happened," Mara Vanderslice, a Democratic consultant who headed John Kerry's 2004 efforts to connect with religious voters, said of the event. "Think how far we've come from just a couple of years ago, when Republicans claimed religion and religious Americans."

Why sweat the God gap? Voters who attend worship at least once a week account for 40 percent of the electorate, according to exit polls, and they tilt heavily toward the GOP. In the 2004 presidential election, the 16 percent of voters who attend church or other services more than once a week went 65 percent to 35 percent for George W. Bush; the 26 percent who attend weekly went 60-40 for the president.

The Democrats have been working on their religion problem for several years, sometimes with more clunkiness than conviction: Think Howard Dean in 2004 offering up Job as his favorite book in the New Testament. Yet with the exception of Bill Clinton, the party's presidential candidates since born-again Jimmy Carter have not been particularly comfortable in religious settings or, even more, talking about religion.

For the 2008 campaign, the Democrats have the advantage of -- you might say they are blessed with -- three front-running candidates for whom religion isn't a matter of conversion on the road to Des Moines.

"I come from a tradition that is perhaps a little too suspicious of people who wear their faith on their sleeves," Hillary Clinton told the crowd at George Washington University, invoking her Sunday school lessons about the Pharisees' ostentatious religiosity. But it is impossible to understand Clinton without going back to her roots in the Methodist Youth Fellowship and the abiding influence of that teaching.

Edwards, raised a Southern Baptist and now a Methodist, is the most disposed to explicitly religious language, and to connect that with his antipoverty agenda. "We are all sinners," Edwards said in response to a question about his biggest sin. "We all fall short, which is why we have to ask for forgiveness from the Lord."

Obama, a member of the United Church of Christ, was the most restrained -- perhaps because of the questions he was asked, perhaps because he chose to filibuster through his allotted 15 minutes. This diffidence was odd, since he wrote movingly in his autobiography about his spiritual awakening and, at last year's Sojourners' conference, spoke passionately on the role of faith in public life.

In the 2008 campaign, said David Kuo, former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, it's the Democratic candidates who sound like evangelicals, and the Republicans -- Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain -- who sound like secularists.

"There's this great irony that the Democrats have learned Bush's lesson on faith this time around better than the Republicans," Kuo said. "You've got Romney terrified of talking about his faith, Giuliani who wants to talk about religion even less than Romney does and McCain, who comes from a generation of public reticence in talking about his faith."

Still, for all the Democrats' overtures to religious voters in 2006, the payoff was limited. Democrats gained slightly among religious voters but even more among the most secular.

The University of Akron's John C. Green, an expert on religion and politics, said that while Republicans in 2006 mostly kept their hold on evangelical voters, Democrats were more successful in peeling off white Catholics, who went 54 percent to 45 percent for the GOP in 2004 and 50-49 Democratic last year.

Indeed, Democrats' best hopes for 2008 and beyond may not be in mobilizing a "religious left," which will inevitably be smaller than its conservative counterpart -- Kuo calls it a "corner grocery" to the right's "Wal-Mart." Rather, the Democrats could make inroads by luring moderate evangelicals and Catholics who once voted Democratic but have drifted away.

Will this work? Think of it as the Democrats' own faith-based initiative.


My own take is this is a continuation of the 2006 trojan horse strategy that the Democrats ran ;attract the middle of the roaders by appealing to their faith ,but abandon the rhetoric in favor of the tried and true "blue " uber-secularist agenda that is their impulse .

But then again ,it is possible that they may indeed be going back to the turn of the 20th century liberal populism coupled with a fierce defense of creationism in the William Jennings Bryan model .Wouldn't that be a big black eye for the neo-secularists and the atheists ?

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Jon1667 asked on 06/03/07 - Distorted Thinking?

A plot was uncovered to destroy JFK airport and much of the surrounding part of New York City by exploding the lines conveying jet fuel to the airport by Islamic militants based in the Caribbean.

According to the leader of the plot, he concocted the plot because "The Jews always get a pass, while Moslems suffer" and, if the plot succeeded, it would put the United States into mourning since they loved and admired John Kennedy so much, and it would be as if he had been "killed twice".

On the first point: So far as I know, "the Jews" have never plotted, let alone succeeded, in mass murder murder of innocents of the kind perpetuated on 9/11 or contemplated in this latest grotesque idea. An utter lack of proportion is shown. On the second point: it is just nonsense to think that JFK airport would be thought of as a kind of shrine. These people must be confusing it with one of their mosques. Furthermore. it is again, grotesque to believe that Americans would care as much for the loss of an airport, as they would for the loss of life, had the plot succeeded.

What sort of people are these?

tomder55 answered on 06/05/07:

There are degrees of tin foil hat thinking . The Muslims believe that Jews murder Muslim babies and use their blood as condiment.To a lesser extent some people there and here only think Jews or Jewish monied interests run the USA . By extention that would make America a legitimate target .

That talk of JFK reeks of typical poetic prose that makes their thoughts so hard to decipher. They called the Twin Towers a shrine also .Truth be told ;they recognized the attacks as attacks on the American financial base. That is the shrine they attacked on 9-11.It is also the shrine they attempted to attack at JFK airport.

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Dark_Crow asked on 05/20/07 - What are the eugenic consequences of an unassimilated immigration?


tomder55 answered on 05/21/07:

A Zogby poll found that 58 percent of Mexicans believe California and the Southwest rightly belong to them. Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA)advocates conquering the Southwest in the name of Mexico. Mexicans have no compunction about imposing their culture and language on the country since they believe the land is by right Mexican.

Simularily another group of immigrants make a conscious effort to not assimilate ;Muslims. Muslems believe they must impose their faith on others by any means necessary; this is why they will eventually demand concessions, such as their own dormitories at colleges ,an Arabic public school in New York City. It's also why they have fought for the right to use sharia law to settle civil disputes in Canada and in parts of "old Europe" .

This is unprecedented in the immigration history of the US where assimilation was presumed and accepted .But the fault does not lie soley with the current influx of immigrants legal and illegal. The host nation must also place pressure on them to do so.It says something disturbing about the lack of national pride that there is no insistance .

Just imagine the reverse ... Huge influxes of Americans were to travel to another country and try to carve out American enclaves living American lives distinct from the culture of the land;and in fact disrepectful of it's traditions and demanding it their right to do so . I imagine the word imperialism would be mentioned more than once.

As far as eugenics goes ...we have embraced it since at least the Roe v Wade decision. The est. 40 million killed makes Hitler look like an amateur .It accelerates our self destruction .

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Dark_Crow asked on 05/17/07 - Is political correctness a new State Religion?......


tomder55 answered on 05/18/07:

Is it any wonder that the Left and Islam have joined hands in the Universities and schools across America.

Both are a dogma, both require group think, both are collectivist, and both are entirely anti-individual. Both are totalitarian in nature. Perfect marriage.

It is the old Ribbentrop-Molotov pact ;and just like before ,the nazis will turn on the useful idiots.

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Dark_Crow asked on 05/18/07 - Is it possible to be honorable and unjust at the same time?


tomder55 answered on 05/18/07:

Honor being a written or unwritten social contract . I would assume an unjust society would consider an unjust person as honorable which then would make the concept of honor relative and probably evolving . As an example ;a mafia goon lives by a code of honor ;omerta and all that bs.

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Dark_Crow asked on 05/10/07 - State should encourage ...........................

Do you believe that when young students display talent in a particular field, the State should encourage the child to pursue that line of study, then pay all university costs so long as he or she persists?

tomder55 answered on 05/10/07:

unless that person is to be employed by the State in some capacity afterwords then the answer is no. How long should that person persist after graduation ? How long will that person's indentured servitude last ? (then again our tax system has most of the country in a form of indentured servitude anyway)

I make my living in a field unrelated to my degree.I do not consider my education wasted at all however . It wasn't the quality of the publicly paid for education system that got me where I am today . Ultimately becoming educated is an individuals responsibilty and choice.

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MarySusan asked on 05/07/07 - Four Objections to Religious Faith

"There are four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking." Slate an article by Christopher Hitchens.


Do GodBelievers have any argument against these four points? Argument about origin of "Goodness" not acceptable as I posted a refutation earliew this year.


tomder55 answered on 05/08/07:

From the Huffington Post :

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, the new book by Christopher Hitchens, contains one of the stupidest and ugliest factual errors published by a major publisher in years. Some will call the error anti-Semitic; others will just call it woefully uninformed. But it's an error that certainly discredits the rest of the book, for it reveals how little the author has bothered to learn about the subject at hand.....

It was with sadness, then, that I read God Is Not Great, which I hoped would be a thoughtful summa against religion, one with which great religious minds could do battle, just as Bertrand Russell and Father Copleston squared off about atheism on BBC radio in 1948.It is an intellectually shoddy and factually inaccurate rush-job, written with blithe ignorance of what his antagonists actually believe. Completely certain that there is no rigorous thinking in favor of religion, Hitchens is almost gleefully ignorant of important scholarship that would disprove his case. For example, eager to show that religion does almost no good to counterbalance the evil done in its name, he argues that religion was only incidental to the civil rights movement; he seems totally unaware of historian David Chappell's recent and widely lauded book which argues for religion's centrality to the movement. Then there are the factual errors. Happy to praise Fawn Brodie's biography of Joseph Smith, Hitchens elevates her to "Dr. Fawn Brodie," despite her having no Ph.D. Hitchens writes that Lubavitchers regard non-Jews as "racially inferior," which is nowhere in their teachings. And so forth.

So, what's the big error I mentioned at the beginning of this post? On p. 54, Hitchens writes, "Orthodox Jews conduct Congress by means of a hole in the sheet..." This is, as even most idiots know, a total fabrication. As a lie, it's not as bad as the blood libel, but it's not so far from the old tales of sexual perversion in Catholic monasteries and convents -- it's a lie meant to discredit a whole people by making them seem sexually bizarre and far outside decent society.

This urban legend was in the galleys of the book, but I figured that there's no way it would appear in the final version. I figured someone along the way -- a copy-editor, his Jewish editor, his Jewish publicist (a friend of mine and a great guy) -- somebody would say, "Hitch, where did you read this? It's total bullshit." But nobody did. Nor did anybody at Slate, where one imagines the book was read in galleys before somebody decided to excerpt it. In an industry filled with Jews (and plenty of smart Christians and Muslims and Hindus and atheists, too), who will catch this colossal error? Over the next couple weeks, let's watch the book reviews to see.

What to make of this? Two things, it seems to me. First, there are a lot of Jews and non-Jews willing to believe the most incredible things about Jews. Anti-Semitism is but a tiny problem in the United States, but ignorance will always be with us. Second, Hitchens doesn't get religion, and he doesn't get religious people. His book is useful as a primer against fundamentalism and zealotry, but most religious people are neither fundamentalists nor zealots. The comparison I always make is to capitalism: unbridled, libertarian capitalism is quite dangerous, but a more moderated form of the market has been a great boon to humanity, and an inability to make the distinction is a sign of intellectual feebleness. (In fact, old socialists get capitalism and religion wrong in the same way.) Hitchens sees no distinction: at one point, he implies (p. 189) that any Jew who keeps kosher is a fundamentalist. Well, there's subtle thinking for you. Hitchens seems to have done none of the reading on religion that might have broadened his thinking--no Wittgenstein, no Rudolf Otto, none of the phenomenologists who help explain why thoughtful, even intellectual people may be religious. I expected better from Hitchens, and I expect better from the rest of us.
Mark Oppenheimer


Hitchens’ subtitle mentions poison. Look who’s talking. This sounds more like 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion ' than any serious exploration of religion. It also shows a lack of serious research. We don’t need more hate literature.Almost like he was trying to capitalize on this recent rush of hate religion books that the NY Slimes pumps.

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tonyrey asked on 04/09/07 - What are the pros and cons of pragmatism?


tomder55 answered on 04/10/07:

Pragmatist aren't so much concerned with the truth as to how to get along .Forget about trying to achieve the ideal ,as standards evolve or devolve they are perfectly agreeable to accomodation . As Crow points out there is a place for this in human governance . But I think Madison and Hamilton ;the primary authors of the 'Federalist Papers ' would agree that there was a moral standard that the Founders agreed would be the basic principles of America .("we hold these truths the be self evident")There is a danger when the moral principles get compromised that pragmatism becomes relativism .

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MarySusan asked on 04/06/07 - Philosophy

Is secular humanism considered "philosophy"?

I understand that various religions can be discussed under the heading of "philosophy or religion", and since there is a word called 'religion', Catholicism is not strictly is religion.

Thanks in advance for intelligent answers.

Mary Sue

tomder55 answered on 04/07/07:

In 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that Secular Humanism was a religion.Justice Harlan summed it all up:
This Court has taken notice of the fact that recognized "religions" exist that "do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God," [Torcaso v. Watkins].Secular Humanism is a religion "for Free Exercise Clause purposes."When Secular Humanists want the benefits of a religion, they get them.
Secular Humanism has been granted tax-exempt status as a religion. Even though Congress originally granted conscientious objector status only to those who objected to war for religious reasons (i.e., because of a belief in God), the Supreme Court turned around and said that Humanists who don't believe in God are "religious" for C.O. purposes. [U.S. v. Seeger]

My problem with the courts decsions of course is that they recognize it as a religion for' free exercise' purposes but not for 'establishment clause' purposes ,so they have allowed it to infiltrate our education establishments.The ACLU types claim that any religion taught (except for historic instruction) constitutes an intolerable government endorsement of religion. One single religion is preached in public schools(humanism), and no other religion may compete with it.Charles Francis Potter ,one of the founders of the humanist movement said “Education is the most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday Schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?"

Humanist organizations like 'American Ethical Union' think humanism is a religion. "The Humanist Way--An Introduction to Ethical Humanist Religion" by Edward L. Ericson promotes this idea. Other humanists have called it "our common faith" . The first humanist manifesto spoke of humanism as a religion. Charles Francis Potter ;signer of the manifesto wrote in 'Humanism: A New Religion', “So Humanism is not simply another denomination of Protestant Christianity; it is not a creed; nor is it a cult. It is a new type of religion altogether.” Julian Huxley(brother of Aldous Huxley )wrote "The Coming New Religion of Humanism,"in which he argues that Christianity is fading away, and moving into its place is the emerging religion of humanism. Former president of the American Humanist Association, Lloyd Morain, stated, “Down through the ages men have been seeking a universal religion or way of life…. Humanism…shows promise of becoming a great world faith. Humanists are content with fixing their attention on this life and on this earth. Theirs is a faith without a god, divine revelation, or sacred scriptures. Yet theirs is a faith rich in feeling and understanding.”

All they really are doing is worshipping revelation of science and humans over those of the creator.

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."
[Romans 1:22-23]

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MarySusan asked on 03/28/07 - Re:The Biological Origins of Goodness

"Evolutionary biology's interest in goodness can be traced back at least as far as Charles Darwin. It is hard to image that anyone could think of goodness as a problem, but Darwin did. He saw the little worker bees that sacrificed themselves to protect their hives─the ultimate example of animal altruism─as especially troubling to his theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin said the bee's behavior drove him "half mad." If his ideas on natural selection were correct (and, of course, they were and are), then this sort of altruism should be extraordinarily rare in nature. How could sacrificing one's life ever be favored by natural selection? If increased reproductive success is what drives the evolution of behavior, then altruists should disappear─and fast. But, in the case of the bees, they didn't disappear, and Darwin was so puzzled by this that he spoke of altruism as "one special difficulty, which at first appeared to me to be insuperable, and actually fatal to my whole theory."

And then a solution to this nasty conundrum hit Darwin like a ton of bricks. Worker bees weren't being altruistic for just any old bunch of bees, they were protecting individuals in their hive. And their hive contains a special class of individuals─blood relatives. Blood relatives are by definition genetically similar to one another, and so even though worker bees may have been giving up their lives, they were potentially saving the lives of hundreds of blood relatives by doing so. Darwin didn't know about genes per se, but he did know that something like what we'd call genes were passed from parents to offspring and shared by blood relatives, and that this was enough to solve the problem of altruism. In modern language, we'd say that the workers bees were indirectly saving copies of their own genes─copies that just happen to reside within their blood kin.

Darwin wasn't the only 19th century scientist who was enamored with the question of the evolution of goodness. His dear friend, Thomas Henry Huxley--arguably the most famous scientist in all of Europe--was as well. Huxley, in fact, got himself into quite a heated argument over whether blood kinship could or could not explain altruism. His opponent was Peter Kropotkin, a former chief page to the Czar of Russia, naturalist, and the most famous anarchist of the 19th century. Huxley argued that all goodness could be traced to blood kinship, while Kropotkin proposed that goodness and blood kinship were completely divorced from one another─one had absolutely nothing to do with the other. Of course, neither was right, but it would take almost a hundred years before a shy, reserved, and brilliant British biologist named William D. Hamilton would settle all the arguments about blood kinship and altruism with a nifty little mathematical equation.

Hamilton, an evolutionary biologist by training, came at the question of altruism and blood kinship the way that an economist would; indeed his Ph.D. in biology was done in part at The London School of Economics. He began by defining three terms─the genetic relatedness between individuals (labeled r), the cost of an act of goodness (c), and the benefit that a recipient obtained when someone was nice to him or her. Then, using some eloquent--in fact, beautiful-- mathematics, in 1963, Hamilton found that altruism and blood kinship are not linked by an all-or-nothing relationship. Instead, what is now known as "Hamilton's Rule" states that altruism evolves whenever r times b is greater than c. In other words, if the cost of altruism is made up by enough genetic relatives receiving benefits, then altruism spreads; otherwise it does not. Phrased in the cold language of natural selection, relatives are worth helping in direct proportion to their genetic relatedness.

Literally thousands of experiments in both nonhumans and humans show the power of Hamilton's Rule. This little equation is evolutionary biology's version of e = mc2. Over and over, we see that an analysis of the costs and benefits of altruism, along with genetic relatedness, allows us to predict the presence or absence of altruism. This is a truly remarkable finding.

Hamilton's Rule, of course, does not explain all altruism, nor did Bill Hamilton think it did. Another large chunk of goodness falls under the category of reciprocity--you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours. Individuals are sometimes willing to be altruistic to someone now in the expectation that they will, in turn, be helped when they need it. Evolutionary biologists have been almost as interested in this type of altruism as in kinship-based altruism. And, amazingly enough, it was Bill Hamilton, along with political scientist Robert Axelrod, who formalized the models behind the evolution of reciprocity. Following up on some work done by Robert Trivers in the early 1970s, in 1981 Axelrod and Hamilton used a mathematical technique called game theory to predict when "reciprocal altruism" should evolve. Again, scores of empirical studies followed up the model. Reciprocity can be complex, but an evolutionary perspective has cleared the haze here the same way it did when it came to blood kinship and altruism.

If goodness is a problem, then the answer─or at the very least, part of the answer─can be found in evolutionary biology." by Dr. Lee Alan Dugatkin


So we see that goodness is easily a product of Evolution.

tomder55 answered on 03/28/07:

so if I open up my wallet to help the hundreds of thousands of tsunami vicitims ,or volunteer to support Habitat for Humanity I am doing it because something in my genetic makeup compels me to be altruistic . Does Hamilton have an explanation for the tightwads ?... Those humans who are in it only for themselves ? Are we in fact different species ?

Did Darwin observe bees who refused to swarm to defend the hive ? I think this hypothesis needs a little more work .

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CeeBee2 asked on 03/20/07 - Words and music -- three questions for consideration.

1. Which is more important in a song, the words or the music?
2. Why?
3. Teen boys tend to focus on the music, whereas teen girls zero in on the words. What is it about males and females that causes this statement to be true?

tomder55 answered on 03/21/07:

tough one to answer. both are important . I tend to think the words are more important and as you know I frequently quote song lyrics in my replies . I think the music is a nice complement to the poetry .

Smile an everlasting smile,
A smile could bring you near to me
Don't ever let me find you gone
'Cause that would bring a tear to me

This world has lost it's glory,
Let's start a brand new story now, my love
Right now there'll be no other time
And I can show you how, my love

Talk in everlasting words
And dedicate them all to me
And I will give you all my life
I'm here if you should call to me

You think that I don't even mean
A single word I say
It's only words, and words are all I have
To take your heart away

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MarySusan asked on 03/15/07 - Zbiegniew Brezezinski

Mr. Brezezinski has a new book being published; I saw him interviewed yesterday. I cannot find the name of the book anywhere searching the net. I believe the word control was in the title....not sure.

Can anyone help?

Many thanks.

tomder55 answered on 03/16/07:

Zbigniew Brzezinski


He should've reviewed the performance of 4 Presidents and let's see how he would rank his dismal performance during the Carter Administration(he was the security adivisor to the worst president of the 20th century).While Carter rightly gets much of the blame for the rise of Islam because of his failures in Iran, it Zbigniew Brzezinski who was the original architect for many of these policies. And look at the results ; Islamism established itself in Iran ;Cubans in Angola and Yemen;the screwing of Rhodesia and the ultimate human disaster in the now Zimbabwe among others .Sure he was supposedly a hardliner when it came to the Soviet Union ,but during his tenure the Soviets were on the march and expanding their influence .

Reading the reviews I'd say the book is most likely more pablum . But ,I will put the book on my list of books to read ;especially since it is likely that the Democrat standardbearer will probably embrace his basic tenents.

I find it very interesting that the left always rails against the Bush Adm. and how it is influenced by oil interests .Brzezinski himself is elbow deep in it. He was and may still be a consultant to Amoco (now merged with BP)when they joined with other oil interests to exploit the Caspian Sea reserve after the collapse of the Soviet Union. If you read his book' The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives ' you will find that his problem with the Bush Adm. is not so much with the loss of life, but with the fact that appearances are not being maintained.

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Dark_Crow asked on 03/15/07 - Do you think that mankind is living in its last days?

I do. Ever since the beginning of time, every form of life has faced challenges that threatened its survival.

For every new problem that our technology or inventions have created, mankind has somehow managed to develop another form of technology or ability to fix the problem. Up until now, that is.

In my humble opinion, man has reached a turning point. Unlike any time in history before, we are now capable of creating global disaster or chaos on an unprecedented scale.

Nuclear weapons are a prime example. We have reached the point were we are able to create more problems than we could ever possibly be able to fix.

In the past, all wars and battles were localized. By this, I mean that the effects of a war usually stayed within a certain region. If a war broke out in africa, people living in France would most likely be unaffected.

This, however, is no longer the case. With the push of just a few different buttons, countries are now capable of destroying a large percentage of the earth's population living thousands of miles away.

In conclusion, I give mankind no more than 500 years to live. People, today are all concerned about fixing Global warming, yet an even more immanent issue threatens us today. I personally do not think that mankind will be around long enough to see the negative affects of global warming. By that time, a huge portion of the earth will be unihabitable due to high levels of radition, or something such as that.

In addition, Terrorism is a new enemy, of which we are poorly equipped to deal with. Terrorism is on the rise. New epedemics(sp?) such as AIDS are still at record levels, and new strains of deadly diseases are popping up everyday.

To be sure, there have been many times in the past in which people thought that doomsday was knocking at the door (such as the Cold War era, etc). However, technology has made the world a more dangerous place to live with each passing day. And it will only get worse, at an increasingly faster pace.

So, what do YOU think? Do you really think that mankind will be around to witness the next Millenium?

.....and that, is my thought-of-the-week.

I came across this and wondered what your reaction might be.

tomder55 answered on 03/16/07:

I try to be optimistic . The human condition has improved over time and I see no reason why it cannot continue to do so . The threat of a spark igniting the nuclear nightmare has been with us all my life time .

I liken the terrorists and the jihadists to the Luddites .Ironically they have best attacked us when they used our technology to their advantage . I say if they want to live in a 7th century world they should have the honesty to forgo the use of the internet and Sattelite TV dishes.

They are the ones waging war on modernity and too many people are willfully ignorant of the threat they pose .But even regarding security I think the solution itself relies on the technology we can use in our behalf .(then again ;the head in the sand deniers would have us advertise to the jihadists how we are obtaining useful intelligence so maybe they are the bigger threat to human existance)

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Dark_Crow asked on 03/14/07 - Is there a causal link between collectivist tyranny and moral relativism?


tomder55 answered on 03/15/07:

Yes and it's not so casual .How can you counter evil if no one is taught what evil is or that evil is an absolute wrong . Moral relativism prefers the position that morals are "gray".When there is shared moral principles then the compromises of a free society are possible ;when not society fractures and becomes a clash of interests .All the enlightenment thinkers understood that there are basic rights to be upheld and evils to be avoided .But how can you avoid it if it is not properly defined ?

The Guardian’s Madeleine Bunting is a champion of relativism . She argues that no objective distinction should be made between democratic cultures in which freedom of belief and education for women are taken for granted, and tyranic societies in which those freedoms are destroyed . She goes so far as to condemn enlightenment thinking as 'imperialistic '.She implies that the enlightenment values may be ok for some societies (with sufficient "reworking " )but not necessarily ok for others AND they are not really any better than any other system.

Mussolini may have said it best (he called himself a relativist )

"If relativism signifies a contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth...then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes...all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it".

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Choux... asked on 03/10/07 - Previously Unpublished Article by Churchill

(AFP) - "The Second World War prime minister Winston Churchill argued that Jews were "partly responsible for the antagonism from which they suffer" in an article publicised for the first time Sunday.

Churchill made the claim in an article entitled "How The Jews Can Combat Persecution" written in 1937, three years before he started leading the country.

He outlined a new wave of anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe and the United States, which was followed by the deaths of millions of Jews in the Holocaust under the German Nazi regime.

"It would be easy to ascribe it to the wickedness of the persecutors, but that does not fit all the facts," the article read.

"It exists even in lands, like Great Britain and the United States, where Jew and Gentile are equal in the eyes of the law and where large numbers of Jews have found not only asylum, but opportunity.

"These facts must be faced in any analysis of anti-Semitism. They should be pondered especially by the Jews themselves.

"For it may be that, unwittingly, they are inviting persecution -- that they have been partly responsible for the antagonism from which they suffer."

The article adds: "The central fact which dominates the relations of Jew and non-Jew is that the Jew is 'different'.

"He looks different. He thinks differently. He has a different tradition and background. He refuses to be absorbed."

Elsewhere, Churchill praised Jews as "sober, industrious, law-abiding" and urged Britons to stand up for the race against persecution.

"There is no virtue in a tame acquiescence in evil. To protest against cruelty and wrong, and to strive to end them, is the mark of a man," he wrote.

The article was discovered by Cambridge University historian Richard Toye in the university's archive of Churchill's papers.

At the time, Churchill's secretary advised him it would be "inadvisable" to publish it and it never saw the light of day.

Churchill was voted the greatest Briton ever in a nationwide poll held by the BBC in 2002." Yahoo News


Was Churchill just another anti Semite based on his comments here?

tomder55 answered on 03/12/07:

He was a product of his aristocratic background and the times he lived .He was an Imperialist and the attitudes presented in the article would be consistent with his views of various natives in the British Empire. This is not evidence of him being anti-semetic since as Tony pointed out ,the article was ghost written . On the other hand it is possible .

The premise of the article is incorrect. The Jews were assimilated nicely into German society and considered themselves German .They did everything reasonable to NOT be different. By the time of the article Hitler had already began the persecutions that resulted in the Holocost.

It does reinforce the logic of the Jews needing their own state.Here was a leader of the free world claiming that the Jews were partly responsible for the persecution that was being inflicted on them .If they could not find refuge in a continent that claimed to be a product of enlightenment ,then how worse off could they be trying to go it alone ?

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HANK1 asked on 03/05/07 - Status:

Are the barbarian or alien aggressors who take advantage of the psychological climate of a universal state palpable and imposing?


tomder55 answered on 03/07/07:

To escape a buried lie, close the blade and close your stance. Drive the toe of the club into the sand. The ball will come out hot and roll a long way.

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HANK1 asked on 02/24/07 - This is my GOODBYE to ANSWERWAY:

* I posted the following on the Chrsitianity Board. I would be remiss if I didn't tell ALL of you GOODBYE as well:


Leslie and I have decided to get married in a month or so. She has been monitoring this Christianity site for a couple of weeks. Anyway, I'll make it short:

Adult concerns are not settled, once and for all, at some critical stage or age. By understanding the forces that promote development or keep us consistent, I can better evaluate popular ideas about adult life. My development is more complicated than that, and also more interesting. Adult life is full of transitions, problems, fun, choices, worries, chances and unexpected curve balls. Having them is what it means to live. Meeting them is what it means to be an adult. Qualities influence how I interpret and react to new situations, and seek stimulation and change or prefer stability and calm. Leslie and I prefer both! We both believe in Jesus, GOD and try to live by His Word. So, I'll lleave all of you with one last thought: We cannot always choose the changes that happen to us, but often we can decide what to do next. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

* Goodbye, Joy. Thanks for your LOVE and UNDERSTANDING.



That's it, guys. A very, very special GOODBYE to my two good friends, Tony and Dark Crow. You have taught me alot and have been very understanding. HAVE A LONG LIFE AND YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY PRAYERS.

God bless all of you ... as well!


tomder55 answered on 02/24/07:

Here or not ,best of luck and happiness in the future .

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tonyrey asked on 02/22/07 - Will global capitalism destroy itself?

................ "Then there is inequality. One feature of globalised capitalism seems to be that it rewards its high performers disproportionately, not just in the City of London but also in Shanghai, Moscow and Mumbai. What will be the political effects of having a small group of super-rich people in countries where the majority are still super-poor? In more developed economies, such as Britain and America, a reasonably well-off middle-class with a slowly improving personal standard of living may be less bothered by a small group of the super-rich - whose antics also provide them with a regular diet of tabloid-style entertainment. But if a lot of middle-class people begin to feel they are personally losing out to the same process of globalisation that is making those few fund managers stinking rich, while at the same time outsourcing their own middle-class jobs to India, then you may have a backlash. Watch Lou Dobbs on CNN for a taste of the populist and protectionist rhetoric to come.

Above all, though, there is the inescapable dilemma that this planet cannot sustain six-and-a-half billion people living like today's middle-class consumers in its rich north. In just a few decades, we would use up the fossil fuels that took some 400 million years to accrete - and change the earth's climate as a result. Sustainability may be a grey and boring word, but it is the biggest single challenge to global capitalism today. However ingenious modern capitalists are at finding alternative technologies - and they will be very ingenious - somewhere down the line this is going to mean richer consumers settling for less rather than more.

Marx thought capitalism would have a problem finding consumers for the goods that improving techniques of production enabled it to churn out. Instead, it has become expert in a new branch of manufacturing: the manufacture of desires. The genius of contemporary capitalism is not simply that it gives consumers what they want but that it makes them want what it has to give. It's that core logic of ever-expanding desires that is unsustainable on a global scale. But are we prepared to abandon it? We may be happy to insulate our lofts, recycle our newspapers and cycle to work, but are we ready to settle for less so others can have more? Am I? Are you?",,2018451,00.html

tomder55 answered on 02/22/07:

I have been hearing the death knell of capitalism all my life . Every professor of history and economy I had said the same thing . Now I watch as the Marxist states of my youth all convert to capitalism and still I here the cassandras .

We aren't about to give up capitalism.Capitalism is central to human nature. That is why Socialist/Communist systems must use force to outlaw capitalistic behavior.Other systems can not compete with Capitalism in a free and equal environment.

As energy prices rise we'll find alternatives and phase in new sources.Human inovation and ingenuity has tackled alot of obstacles that nature has thrown our way since our days as cave dwellers. Perhaps the author cannot imagine a world without utilizing carbon based fuels but there are many who can and are working towards that end. But progress and innovation takes capital .Without capital innovation starves. prosperity weakens;societies stagnate.

What the author is really saying is that capitalism creates winners and losers and the author believes it is the moral responsibility of gvt. to redistribute from the winners to the losers . But forced redistribution discourages winners from producing and losers from trying. The moral capitalists gives back to society because it is the right thing to do.

Free will.... Without it there is no such thing as love, and no such thing as charity. No other system of economics preserves the rights of the individual as does capitalism. In it we can choose how hard to work, where to work, and what we are willing to give for what we receive. It's not always fair, but it allows us to be free individuals like no other system.

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Choux... asked on 02/19/07 - Clearing up Tom's Lie

"Atheism is commonly divided into two types: strong atheism and weak atheism. Although only two categories, this distinction manages to reflect the broad diversity which exists among atheists when it comes to their positions on the existence of gods.

Weak atheism, also sometimes referred to as implicit atheism, is simply another name for the broadest and most general conception of atheism: the absence of belief in any gods. A weak atheist is someone who lacks theism and who does not happen to believe in the existence of any gods — no more, no less. This is also sometimes called agnostic atheism because most people who self-consciously lack belief in gods tend to do so for agnostic reasons.

Strong atheism, also sometimes referred to as explicit atheism, goes one step further and involves denying the existence of at least one god, usually multiple gods, and sometimes the possible existence of any gods at all. Strong atheism is sometimes called “gnostic atheism” because people who take this position often incorporate knowledge claims into it — that is to say, they claim to know in some fashion that certain gods or indeed all gods do not or cannot exist.

Because knowledge claims are involved, **strong atheism carries an initial burden of proof which does not exist for weak atheism**. Any time a person asserts that some god or any gods do not or cannot exist, they obligate themselves to support their claims. This narrower conception of atheism is often thought by many (erroneously) to represent the entirety of atheism itself.

Because strong and weak atheism are often called “types” of atheism, some people develop the mistaken idea that these are somehow akin to “denominations” of atheism, not unlike denominations of Christianity. This serves the bolster the myth that atheism is a religion or a belief system. This is unfortunate, in particular because the label of “types” is not entirely accurate; rather, it is simply used due to a lack of better terminology.

To call them different types is to imply on some level that they are separate — a person is either a strong atheist or a weak atheist. If we look more closely, however, we will note that almost all atheists are both on various levels. The primary indication of that can be seen in that the definition of weak atheism, lacking belief in the existence of any gods, is in fact that basic definition of atheism itself.

What this means is that all atheists are weak atheists. The difference, then, between weak and strong atheism is not that some people belong to one instead of the other, but rather that some people belong to one in addition to the other. ***All atheists are weak atheists because all atheists, by definition, lack belief in the existence of gods***. Some atheists, however, are also strong atheists because they take the extra step of denying the existence of at least some gods.

Technically, saying that “some” atheists do this isn’t entirely accurate. Most, if not all, atheists are willing to deny the existence of some gods if asked — few only “lack belief” in the existence of Zeus or Apollo, for example. Thus, while all atheists are weak atheists, pretty much all atheists are also strong atheists with respect to at least some gods."


Tom, please apologize to the board for your lie.

Thank you so much.

tomder55 answered on 02/20/07:

nothing to apologize for .Weak atheism is a dodge .

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HANK1 asked on 02/16/07 - JUST WONDERING:

Is ATHEISM a religion or a philosophy?


tomder55 answered on 02/19/07:

just my opinion ....yes takes as much a leap of faith to think that everything happened by random chance from nothing as it does to believe in a creator . Atheist realizing this devised this distinction of hard and soft atheism . Soft atheism being the ruse that they don't make an opinion either way.

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HANK1 asked on 02/17/07 - NAZI PHILOSOPHY:

"The Nazis were very male-dominated and anti-feminist. Nazi PHILOSOPHY idealised the role of women as child-bearer and creator of the family:

The Law for the Encouragement of Marriage gave newly-wed couples a loan of 1000 marks, and allowed them to keep 250 marks for each child they had.

Mothers who had more than 8 children were given a gold medal.

But not all women were happy with the Nazi regime:

Job-discrimination against women was encouraged. Women doctors, teachers and civil servants were forced to give up their careers.

Women were never allowed to serve in the armed forces - even during the war."


Any comment?


tomder55 answered on 02/18/07:

The Nazi regime's aim was to purge and then control the majority of 'Aryan' women, invading their privacy as well as both mobilizing them for the regime's projects and indoctrinating their children .In wartime, as Nazi policies of persecution reached their terrible conclusion, some 'Aryan' women colluded in atrocities while others were casualties of Hitler's fight to the finish .

If you call that idealizing the role of women you need some serious self examination. For the most part,women in Nazi Germany were just more victims to their philosophy of hate.

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Dark_Crow asked on 02/06/07 - The art of reading proverbs……………

Proverbs, it is most likely, were the first words of the wise; unfettered by written word, ‘the philosophy of the vulgar’, as it has been called but, is it really. Once men’ used proverbs as way of expressing truths. Why now do you suppose we seldom see it done in day to day conversation?

tomder55 answered on 02/07/07:

They are hidden ,but they sometimes emerge.
I hear them all the time from motivational speakers :

Ideas won't work unless you do.

One thing you can't recycle is wasted time.

A turtle makes progress when it sticks its head out.

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

One thing you can give and still keep…is your word

Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears

The best inheritance a parent can give their children is their time each day.

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing that you will make one.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program

Even if you are on the right track,
you will get run over if you just sit there

People with tact have less to retract.

Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.

If at first you don't succeed, try reading the instructions

No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

The things that come to those that wait may be the things left by those who got there first.

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tonyrey asked on 01/29/07 - ExxonMobil's unscrupulous policy of deception

"For more than three decades, the tobacco industry carried on a campaign of disinformation intended to mislead Americans about the health risks of smoking—a strategy that has been dubbed “manufacturing uncertainty” in the minds of consumers. And ever since global warming emerged as an environmental threat, there has been a well-funded public campaign to cast doubt on the scientific consensus about the danger of global warming and its source in fossil-fuel combustion. A report this week by the Union of Concerned Scientists finds a parallel between the efforts to whitewash tobacco and “greenwash” oil—and points the finger of responsibility at the world’s largest corporation, ExxonMobil.

Under its former chairman and CEO, Lee Raymond, who retired in 2005 as one of the best-paid corporate executives in history, ExxonMobil was well known for its hostility to government regulations on emissions of carbon dioxide. But, according to the report, the op-eds and position papers were only the visible tip of Exxon’s effort to fund a small group of researchers and an overlapping network of think tanks that could be relied on to spread the message that global warming was nothing to worry about—or at least, nothing the government could or should do anything about. Their frequently repeated call for “sound science” on global warming echoes the tobacco industry’s endless demand for more research on whether cigarettes really, truly, unquestionably cause cancer.

Of course, cigarette companies weren’t concerned just about future sales, but the billions of dollars in compensation they eventually had to … umm … cough up. ExxonMobil’s motivation, presumably, is to protect a fantastically lucrative market: its 2005 profits of $36 billion made it the most profitable corporation in history. But that very wealth puts them in a position both to shape and eventually dominate the postcarbon energy world, if they choose to do so. Ironically, as the report points out, the company and its shareholders will suffer if it gets left behind in the transition to less polluting forms of energy.

For its part, ExxonMobil—after promulgating, and then withdrawing 20 minutes later, a statement that called the report an “attempt to smear our name and confuse the discussion”—wants you to know that it now accepts some responsibility for global warming. Specifically, and in boldface, it admitted that “It is clear today that greenhouse gas emissions are one of the factors that contribute to climate change, and that the use of fossil fuels is a major source of these emissions.” That would seem, on the face of it, to contradict the assertions of some of its favored researchers in the ever-shrinking coterie of global-warming skeptics."

Who is prepared to defend ExxonMobil now?

tomder55 answered on 01/30/07:

"skepticism is the first step towards truth."Denis Diderot

THE Big problem for global warming alarmists is a period called "The Medieval Warming," which occurred from about 950 A.D. to 1350 A.D. . The Vikings colonized Greenland in 982 A.D. and stayed until 1425 A.D., when the cold weather and permafrost drove them out. While there they mapped the northern coast of Greenland, which is now encased in ice ...although it's slowly melting. Leif Ericsson, blown off course while headed for Greenland in 1000 A.D., discovered "Vinland"probably Nova Scotia ; where he found wild wheat and grapes growing in abundance. Today the land is barren. The warmer climate of the Medieval Warm Period was accompanied by a remarkable flowering of prosperity, knowledge, and art in Europe. But the existence of the Medieval Warm Period was an "inconvenient truth" for true believers in global warming.

Dennis Deming, a climate scientist at the University of Oklahoma, recently told the Senate :
In 1995, I published a short paper in the academic journal Science. In that study, I reviewed how borehole temperature data recorded a warming of about one degree Celsius in North America over the last 100 to 150 years. The week the article appeared, I was contacted by a reporter for National Public Radio. He offered to interview me, but only if I would state that the warming was due to human activity. When I refused to do so, he hung up on me.

With the publication of the article in Science, I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them.... One of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said: "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."

"In 1999, Michael Mann and his colleagues published a reconstruction of past temperature in which the MWP simply vanished. This unique estimate became known as the "hockey stick," because of the shape of the temperature graph. "Normally in science, when you have a novel result that appears to overturn previous work, you have to demonstrate why the earlier work was wrong. But the work of Mann and his colleagues was initially accepted uncritically, even though it contradicted the results of more than 100 previous studies. Other researchers have since reaffirmed that the Medieval Warm Period was both warm and global in its extent.

"There is an overwhelming bias today in the media regarding the issue of global warming. In the past two years, this bias has bloomed into an irrational hysteria. Every natural disaster that occurs is now linked with global warming, no matter how tenuous or impossible the connection. As a result, the public has become vastly misinformed."

Sometime this week the UN will publish a study refuting claims that climate change is cyclical .They can count all the tree rings they want to in California but they cannot refute the historcal facts .

The Hudson Institute (obviously card carrying members of the Exxon disinformation campaign )has just published an excellent book, 'Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years', chronicling the whole controversy and more. S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery present their own counter-theory ;that the earth goes through regular 1,500-year cycles of warming and cooling, driven by the fluctuating intensity of the sun. There was a 'Roman Warming'period from 200 B.C. to 600 A.D.;and the well-documented 'Little Ice Age 'from 1300 to 1850, when Europe nearly froze to death.

There is enough evidence to make a solid case for both sides of this debate. The problem is that when those of us who are skeptics make a counterpoint it is treated by the global warming crusaders as information that should be outlawed.

Has anyone considered that both sides are right ? That climate change is cyclical due to solar activity , AND , that human activity is having an impact ?

Actually yes there are .Nir Shaviv , an Israeli astrophysicist wrote a detailed balance analysis on his web site 'ScienceBits'.

The truth is probably somewhere in between, with natural causes probably being more important over the past century, whereas anthropogenic causes will probably be more dominant over the next century. Following [the] empirical evidence... about 2/3's (give or take a third or so) of the warming should be attributed to increased solar activity and the remaining to anthropogenic causes.

I have argued ,and still do so that to the extent that we can reduce harmful emissions ,we should do so. I do not favor pollution trading schemes like Kyoto mandates and I do not favor letting emerging industrial nations off the hook while we punish existing industrial nations . I have found that once a TRUE concensus is reached then human ingenuity is very capable of problem solving .Once it was discovered that acid rain was destroying the forests of N.E. United States and the source was clearly linked to coal fired emissions in the mid west ,it did not take long for a solution to be found that not only enabled to forests to begin a turn around ,but also for the industries that used coal fuel to productively continue their business.

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Choux... asked on 01/28/07 - God: The Failed Hypothesis

I know there are some Atheists who frequent this Board, so I would like to point out a new book published on the 25th. It is "God: The failed Hypothesis" by Victor J Stenger.

Here are a few comments by Richard Dawkins:

"Darwin chased God out of his old haunts in biology, and he scurried for safety down the rabbit hole of physics. The laws and constants of the universe, we were told, are too good to be true: a set-up, carefully tuned to allow the eventual evolution of life. It needed a good physicist to show us the fallacy, and Victor Stenger lucidly does so. The faithful won't change their minds, of course (that is what faith means) but Victor Stenger drives a pack of energetic ferrets down the last major bolt hole and God is running out of refuges in which to hide. I learned an enormous amount from this splendid book."


Quite a rave review from such an educated Professor.

tomder55 answered on 01/29/07:

Why are scientist atheists becoming so frequently antagonistic ? Gould never attacked . He said there was no inherent conflict between religion and science . Sagan did not believe in God but said that religion offers valuable council .

Dawkins however thinks religion is the sole source of evil in the world .Even in the face of the horrows that atheists like Mao and Stalin inflicted he dismisses atheism as the reason .

Richard Dawkins and Leonard Susskind as well as other respected physicists admit that the universe "appears designed" for life. Perhaps it then becomes a leap to claim that a diety is involved but it is also a leap to conclude that it's random chance.

I suspect that if Dawkins hatred of religion is manifest in this Stenger book I will probably not bother reading it....otherwise I will give it a shot.

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Dark_Crow asked on 01/26/07 - Was Thomas Paine a “Poacher turned gamekeeper?”

Or is there really a connection between Thomas Paine and "The Georgia Guidestones".

tomder55 answered on 01/28/07:

Interesting ;The Georgia Guildstones were also posted about on the Christianity board this week.I think they should be removed since they are a cult (The Rosicrucian)religion's symbol .lol Of course if they wanted their message to resonate they would've contructed them closer to a population center and not in the middle of a cow pasture in Ga. "The devil went down to Georgia he was lookin for a soul to steal "....

I'd say they are the work of masons with too much time on their hands .If they were farmers they'd be constructing elaborate crop circles instead.

The authors of the stones want us to cull the human herd to a managable 500 million. I guess they would've exempted themselves from the extermination since they are one with nature.Readin them is like readin Al Gore's platform for his next Presidential run.

'AVOID PETTY LAWS AND USELESS OFFICIALS' sounds like something Tom Paine would've said .But I think the author may have been taking license refering to Tom Paine . Sure Paine believed himself to be a citizen of the world ,but he would not subscribe to draconian measures that are intended to limit human liberty.

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Dark_Crow asked on 01/24/07 - Can Environmental Damage Be Halted?

An article in Scientific American raised this intriguing question. It predicted that global warming "will expand the incidence and distribution of many serious medical disorders." For example, in some places "the number of deaths related to heat waves is projected to double by 2020."
Less obvious is the role global warming could play in infectious disease. "Mosquito-borne disorders are projected to become increasingly prevalent," since mosquitoes "proliferate faster and bite more as the air becomes warmer. . . . As whole areas heat up, then, mosquitoes could expand into formerly forbidden territories, bringing illness with them."
Finally, there are the effects of flood and drought—both of which can result in polluted water supplies. Clearly, the threat of global warming must be taken seriously.
Man has lost respect for the earth in his greed for comfort, speed and commercial gain." So reads the jacket for the book 5000 Days to Save the Planet. We are living with the results of man's greed. And whether theories about global warming prove true or not, one thing is sure—man is damaging our beautiful planet. Our only hope is the fulfillment of the Bible's promise that God will "bring to ruin those ruining the earth."


tomder55 answered on 01/26/07:

To the extent that climate change is a human creation ;it can and should be remedied .I do not proscribe to artificial limits that are easily circumvented by phony polution credits ;nor do I see a need to reverse technological development .

Quite the contrary . Once it is recognized as a human creation it is amazing how fast human polluton can be reversed with minimal impact on life styles . The air is cleaner then it was in the 1960s . Rivers are not catching fire like they did in Ohio . The effects of acid rain in the North Eastern forests are being reversed. Lakes that were thought dead are being renewed .

Despite Tony's rants against the capitalist machine ;it is the very industries he critiques that will take the lead in solving the problem if it is solvable at all.

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ttalady asked on 12/05/06 - What is Christmas?
What is Christmas?

What is it? A day of just giving expensive presents you can not afford? It use to be so.... much more. I can just give my hubby his gift now, he cares nothing of the fact. My father, my brothers, my neice and nephew. The baby Jesus has nothing to do with their gifts. Nothing at all...

My Mother holds Jesus as I do, a belief even if you don't as we do. The bond is unreal!

I remember, the time, when it mattered. Now it is just a false in a soul that believes.

Why wait for Christmas day for those that do not believe. Why not wreck it and say here, have it now?

I feel that! What is the sense of Christmas with out Jesus? The baby in a manjor, the giving of your time for other, the time of just giving everything. Jews celebrate better than the Christian!

I can not go on! It is just what it is, except it I guess!

tomder55 answered on 12/06/06:

"A merry Christmas, uncle! I God save you!" cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation Scrooge had of his approach.

"Bah!" said Scrooge; "humbug!"

"Christmas a humbug, uncle! You don't mean that, I am sure?"

"I do. Out upon merry Christmas! What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I had my will, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"


"Nephew, keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine."

"Keep it! But you don't keep it."

"Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!"

"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred origin, if anything belonging to it call be apart from that, -- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to thank of people below them as if they really were fellow-travellers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

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frick asked on 10/23/06 - Ayn Rand

Is Ayn Rand a philosopher? Is her "objectivism" objective? How much of her "objectivism" derives from her hatred of her Russian homeland after the Russian Revolution and her expulsion (her family) from a Czarist Russia?

The question comes from a recent viewing of "The Fountainhead" - a movie with dialogue so bizarre, it must be seen to be believed. Gary Cooper mailed it in for the check. "I love you because I hate you". "I want you to build my building because you are free, and I hate freedom because freedom is the greatest thing....." Et cetera. Rand was one very confused lady, and yet today she has followers (mostly earnest teenage boys) who live and die by her words.

Is this philosophy, or a weird pop culture?

tomder55 answered on 10/26/06:

"All work is an act of philosophy."
(quote from 'Atlas Shrugged)

I would say that yes ,she was shaped by her experiences living in Russia

"Ask yourself why totalitarian dictatorships find it necessary to pour money and effort into propaganda for their own helpless, chained, gagged slaves, who have no means of protest or defense. The answer is that even the humblest peasant or the lowest savage would rise in blind rebellion, were he to realize that he is being immolated, not to some incomprehensible noble purpose, but to plain, naked human evil."

(from ' The Virtue of Selfishness')

I suggest you read 'The Fountainhead 'instead of trying to divine any meaning from a lame Hollywood attempt at interpretation. No hour and 1/2 piece of celluloid could possibly do the book justice .(or even better,read 'Atlas Shrugged ')

Is it a philosophy ? Yes selfishness is a valid philosophy.

"Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn't done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity."

"To say 'I love you' one must know first how to say the 'I.'"

"Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."

(quotes from 'The Fountainhead' )

"I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
(quotes from 'Atlas Shrugged ')

"Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others."

(from 'Capitalism The Unknown Ideal ')

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tonyrey asked on 10/16/06 - What rights do animals have?


tomder55 answered on 10/16/06:

the same rights that individual humans have ;anything they can guarantee and enforce .

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ttalady asked on 10/15/06 - (For fun)

Dear Abby,

It is Sunday and I bought the NFL Sunday Ticket, the Seahawks are playing, I live in NY so do not get the game. The moral judgement on this was really tough for me. My hubby and I have not been getting along lately, we are finding many differences in what we want in life. He hunts, I do not yet, might try it next year. I am a passionate person when it comes to what I believe in, as he is.

The Sunday Ticket cost us $250 for a season. I consider it my birthday present even so.... very expensive. The Seahawks have always been a football team of mine, even through the many loosing years. There is just something about them, hope maybe!

Despite my feelings for the Hawks my husband was in hind sight supporting the Rams today. Maybe for the reaction, $250 is alot for some men slapping butts(as he would call it)!

He left to take on the buck with his bow and arrow and as he was stepping out the door I told him,"If the Seahawks win tonight plan on sex"! He looked at me, smiled HUGE and screamed, "Go Seahawks!!!!!"

Question one, do I have to stick with the deal? Nothing in contract, I did not shake his hand, and he has no interest really in football.

Question two, would it be wrong to get a bigger TV to watch my Sunday Ticket on, I can get it in high definition?

***Just for fun folks, all true though! My Hawks WON, there is always hope and prayer that does work! Passion holds the keys to your happiness, hold it dearly and never let it go. Simple passions that you believe in, trust and know are right may have give worry some at points in life but if you believe the outcome is all worth the worry!


tomder55 answered on 10/16/06:

I think you should honor your word and have good sex.

I would get the Sunday ticket if I was out of NY .I went to school in the mid-West and the regional NFL games were the KC Chiefs and the Dallas Cowboys . It drove me crazy having to watch the Cowboys week after week especially since they were always good and my Giants were pathetic back then. Still I would've prefered to watch the Giants go 3 and out than watch Roger Staubach drive for the last minute winning T.D. over and over again.

My wife knows that I watch football Sunday afternoons . I set a schedule in between where I get everything needed to be done before the games ;mow the lawn on Saturday ;fix anything needing repair ;cook on Sat. night etc. I also make sure Ipay attention /participate and at least show an interest in her hobbies . I have gotten her mildly interested in football by setting up a friendly family Yahoo 'pick-em 'league that she participates in as well whichever relative we could get to play. It's like an office pool but without the money bets . This feeds into her competitive nature so even though she never actually sits down to watch the game ,she has interest in the outcome.

I picked the Hawks in the game so I was happy . The netwrok cut to the end of the game after the Giants whipped the Falcons so I saw the winning FG.

There is nothing wrong with having different hobbies and interests and that really should not be a cause of conflict. Passionate is good . And by all means get the TV . You watch the football ;he can watch 'The American Outdoorsman '.

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Dark_Crow asked on 09/18/06 - never get interested in words...........................

Karl Popper wrote:
"One should never get involved in verbal questions or questions of meaning, and never get interested in words. If challenged by the question of whether a word one uses really means this or that, then one should say: 'I don't know, and I am not interested in meanings; and if you wish, I will gladly accept your terminology.' This never does any harm. One should never quarrel about words, and never get involved in questions of terminology. One should always keep away from discussing concepts. What we are really interested in, our real problems, are factual problems, or in other words, problems of theories and their truth. We are interested in theories and how they stand up to critical discussion; and our critical discussion is controlled by our interest in truth."

Do you agree or disagree, and most of all why?

tomder55 answered on 09/19/06:

"There's glory for you!"
"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,' " Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don'ttill I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!' "
"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,' " Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to meanneither more nor less."
"The question is, " said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty. "which is to be masterthat's all."

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HANK1 asked on 09/17/06 - PETER SINGER:

Peter Singer may be the most controversial Philosopher alive! His belief that animals should be treated like people gave birth to the animal rights movement. I agree -- 2000%!

Is Singer the most controversial Philosopher alive?


tomder55 answered on 09/18/06:

The chicken that I ate last night has the same rights as me ? Boy he needs to study the food chain a little closer!

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Dark_Crow asked on 09/10/06 - Blas Pascal understood a couple of centuries ago

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.
Blas Pascal understood a couple of centuries ago that the proposition was true, and no matter, what we make of the concepts and theories that we interpret from any given religion, the truth of the matter always must be judged by the "Practices," the deeds, the "Fruit" they produce. Like the wars among the people of Islam and Catholicism. Can we by reason, conclude that either are a religion of peace?

tomder55 answered on 09/11/06:

in defense of Catholicism it can be argued that it has gone through a number of reformations that has dragged it (or sometimes it even lead)away from the excesses of it's past .

Non sum qualis eram

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tonyrey asked on 09/09/06 - To what extent is Islam a threat to peace?

"Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject cultural relativism , which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers."

tomder55 answered on 09/10/06:

Hard to tell the differene when you read the 'Koran','Sunna' and 'Hadith', and the 20th Century writing by Adoph Hitler 'Mein Kampf' .

Mein Kampf-Sets out a detailed model for world conquest, including rules for how conquered peoples are to be suppressed and dominated by the German race. States that the wealth, resources and property of subject peoples belongs to Germans by right and the right to life for subject peoples is dependent on Germans. States that non-Germans have no legal or civil rights.

The Muslim books -Sets out a detailed model for world conquest, including rules for how conquered peoples are to be suppressed and dominated by Muslims. States that the wealth, resources and property of subject peoples belongs to Muslims by right and the right to life for subject peoples is dependent onMuslims. States that non-Muslims have no legal or civil rights.

Mein Kampf-Divides the world into `German land' and enemy territory. States that land with Germans living in it or land that once had Germans ruling it rightfully belongs to Germany, and Germany is entitled to get it back by any means necessary.

TheMuslim books-Divides the world into `Dar Islam' (Muslim ruled land) and enemy territory (Dar Harb). States that land with Muslims living in it or land that once had Muslims ruling it rightfully belongs to Dar Islam, and Muslims are entitled to get it back by any means necessary.

Mein Kampf-Blames the Jews for society's ills and says that they will be exterminated.

The Koran-Blames the Jews for society's ills and says that they will be exterminated. (`On the day of Judgement the rocks and trees will call out `O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me! Come and slay him!)

It's no wonder then that Mein Kampf has become a best seller in Middle Eastern bookstores . It's like an addendum .

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tonyrey asked on 09/02/06 - When, if ever, is assassination morally justified?

Would you have supported the plot to kill Hitler?

tomder55 answered on 09/03/06:

I have no problem with decapitation strikes. The problem is as the Israelis have discovered is that movements sprout replacement leaders .

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tonyrey asked on 08/30/06 - What are your views on secular humanism?

..... To what extent is man "the measure of all things"?

tomder55 answered on 08/30/06:

This is a mysterious universe, and the more we know about it the more mysterious it seems. New York Times editorial . "the measure of all things". That is the problem with the human ego .

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Dark_Crow asked on 08/26/06 - diagnosing cancer....................................

A Security Council resolution gives Iran until August 31 to stop uranium enrichment, which could provide fuel to produce electricity or possibly atomic weapons, or face penalties.

While at the same time Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated a heavy-water nuclear reactor. Mohammad Saeedi said that the heavy-water plant is "one of the biggest nuclear projects" in Iran, state-run television reported. He added that the reactor will be used in the pharmaceutical field and in diagnosing cancer.
The plants top official, Manouchehr Madadi, said that it has the ability to produce up to 16 tons of heavy water a year.
Does anyone know what kind of pharmaceuticals 16 tons of heavy water a year would provide, or, its use in diagnosing cancer?

tomder55 answered on 08/27/06:

Radioisotopes are used in diagnosis of cancer and indeed there are other peaceful uses for nuclear technology .

They can say their plant in Arak is for peaceful uses and that is a good cover because indeed it could be ;as Canadian plants are (CANDU reactors),but it could be a dual use or it could be strictly for the production of weapon grade plutonium .It is my understanding that the plant is too big for a 'peaceful purpose. The vast majority of reactors that produce electricty and other peaceful uses are light water reactors.

The advantage of a heavy-water reactor from the Iranian point of view is that it can be fueled with natural uranium ;which Iran has an abundant supply of . You don't have to enrich the uranium. It is good cover on their part to claim it is for peaceful use.There is that possibility .

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Coup_de_Grace asked on 08/21/06 - *Liberals*

I read an opinion poll and sorta study of the American people...this was last year.

The results were that the majority of American people agreed with the programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration and the Liberals that followed....that would be Medicare, Social Security, regulation of Capitalism and money products, etc.

The people who call themselves Moderates are most probably Liberals. Hence, some of the confusion about political labels in America.

tomder55 answered on 08/22/06:

I wonder about that . I wonder if they have contemplated the costs ,especially going forward .Congressional Budget Office projections show that the combined costs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will double as a share of the nation's economy by 2040. Without reforms, those costs imply a future of either huge tax increases, or government that does little else than fund entitlements as all other spending gets squeezed out. While the size of the federal budget has increased in dollar terms over the years, the proportion available for government services has shrunk . Over the last three decades, discretionary spending has been cut significantly to accomodate rapid growths in other expenses.

Discretionary spending covers everything from road building to police protection to medical research to our national defense -- most of the government services with which Americans are familiar. All other spending is mandatory ,required by law regardless of what is left over for discretionary spending. Mandatory spending includes entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, and debt service .

So long as health-care costs continue to grow faster than the economy as a whole, the additional resources needed for such programs will exert pressure on the federal budget.Add to that the likelyhood of a wave of baby boomers who are getting ready to retire and claim their slice of the 'entitlement' pie and you are looking at a fiscal crisis so huge that even liberals will not be able to flippantly claim that soaking the rich will solve it . We will be paying Euro nanny-state tax rates and the level of return will still be thread bare basic safety net.

To make matters worse the Congress in the last 1/2 decade intruduced a new unfunded entitlement for perscription drugs without disclosing to the general public the trillions of dollars of tax revenue that would be required to service this new entitlement .

But even propose creative solutions to this coming crisis and the idea is declared DOA . Do not mess around with this HOLY GRAIL ! When the problem becomes so obvious that it cannot be ignored then the clowns is Congress put bandaids on it without addressing the root cause of the flaws in the system and then delare that they have made the programs solvent for a decade or more . But they have run out of bandaids .If entitlement programs are not reformed, they will squeeze out other spending programs that Democrats care about But some Democrats do not appear to understand this.

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MicroGlyphics asked on 08/15/06 - This the current US administration a group of Fascists?

I have read much on Right-wing blogs, Conservatives distancing themselves from the idea of Fascismthe Fasicm is not to the right of Conservatism as it is practised in the US. So I decided to visit the definition. In the words of Shakespeare, "The lady protests too much, methinks."

(a) A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, (b) stringent socioeconomic controls, (c) suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and (d) typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

This is a definition of Fascism. Let's compare it to the current Bush Cabal.

(a) Yep. The current regime aspires dictatorial rule as it summarily ignores Constitutional protections.

(b) Not so much.

(c) Yep. Propagandists and fear monger.

(d) Yep. Nationalists and Racists, the lot.

3 out of 4: 75%. Of course the "not so much" response to (b) doesn't speak to the ill conceived tax and spend policies, or the oppressive petroleum prices owing to poor foreign policy implementation. But I can forgive that. After all, how can you implement "good" foreign policyor anything, generally without so much as a plan.

tomder55 answered on 08/15/06:

your redefinition of conservatism does not wash.

a) Bush was subject to two popular elections and won both . His reeelction in 2004 was the highest total vote for a candidate in American history .

b)Bush has consistently advocated privatization and decentralization on the economic front . He has through necessity centralized some of the intel and security depts in the wake of 9-11 but that is something that the American people very much have demanded from this administration .Throughout the process his decisions ultimately receive both Congressional and Judicial review . He has played his constitutional role in the process .

c)suppression of the opposition ? are you kidding me . Bush has been under attack by the opposition since before he even took office .

d) I'll accept the nationalism but racism ? Both of his Sec. State's have been African American ;his current Att Gen. is Hispanic . You may not like his policies or agree with them but his domestic polices have been designed to empower all people . DDuring his Presidency has been the greatest upward mobility of minorities in our history . Black homeownership rose to an all-time high.More minorities and immigrants are buying homes than ever before .Minorities now own approximately 30 percent of the nations homes .

He has consistently promoted minority entrepreneurialship as opposed to the nanny state solutions typical of socialism . Who is more fascist ? Someone who encourges individualism or turning whole ethnicities into wards of the state ?

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Dark_Crow asked on 08/13/06 - Imperial Iranian Special Forces...............

If anything was learned in this past battle between Hezbollah and Israel, it should be clear to the simplest of minds that Hezbollah is not an independent group of "Resistance" fighters for Human rights, or to right a wrong. What is clear should be that they are part of the Imperial Iranian Special Forces, trained and armed as well as many States; unlike the Palestinian "cannon fodder" provided by Iran. Now, it my belief that Hezbollah will be "sitting up shop" in an earnest manner, so that they can repeated in Palestine what they have accomplished in Lebanon. Is there any evidence to the contrary?

tomder55 answered on 08/14/06:

In every war since its independence, Israel has won decisively against Arab forces by throwing its full military weight against the enemy. None, before Hassan Nasrallah, has been able to withstand the Israelis. But now Nasrallah towers over all other terrorist leaders, even bin Laden. Nasrallah has fought the Israeli military to a standstill for a month, and his rockets still rain down on Israel. Nasrallah was, by UN action, elevated to the status of leader of a nation-state able to accept or reject the UN's terms. He has said that his "fighters" will continue to attack as long as Israeli soldiers remain in Lebanon.

Nasrallah now rules Lebanon, or "Hizballahstan" to be more accurate. The UNIFIL force, whenever it is re-formed and deployed, will do no more than it has in the past, meaning there will be no effort to disarm Hizballah. The Hizballahstan government, relieved of Israeli air attack, will have Syrian and Iranian aid to rebuild the supply lines and regroup and rearm its terrorist army in southern Lebanon in a matter of days or weeks.

Hizballah is a proxy for Syria and Iran. And in this war Israel -- closely identified with America -- has failed to achieve anything that remotely resembles victory. This is not a matter of Israel's value as an American ally. It is a matter of civilization's ability to defeat global Islamic terrorism and the nations that create and support it. Nasrallah's victory says that democracies can be counted on to fight on the enemy's terms, disdaining the capability they have to win. Other terrorist leaders and their cells in the UK, America and elsewhere will take Nasrallah's victory as proof that they too can succeed where al Qaeda has so far failed. They will attack again and again believing that eventually they will win against democracies that respond to attacks minimally, foregoing their battlefield advantages in a pusillanimous attempt to appease Muslims who aren't yet openly siding with the terrorists.

Jed Babbin

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ttalady asked on 08/10/06 - Bill O'Reilly.....

.... constantly asks his callers, "How would you wage the war on terrorism". The funny things is as he asks he never gives his own answer. He has answers for certain circumstances but when it comes to a true strategy I have yet to hear his.

Is there an answer? Is there a strategy to take out radical Islamist? In Iraq there is a chance of a civil war. Let's see, radical Islamist killing radical Islamist? Hmmmm... Not to say they are all radical but have to believe if you share the same religion, with a sur name that only separates you, but you enjoy killing each other anyway, that's pretty radical! It really makes me wonder just what is this religion about? Killing anyone that does not believe as you?

So how would you wage the war? Any ideas on how to end this really petty fighting? Bill has yet to o-pine!

And tell me, what is the deal with racial profiling? Come on, I profile my neighbors! What's the big deal, I have nothing to hide?

Best to you all!


tomder55 answered on 08/11/06:

Have to agree with Brad's take on OReilly. He trys way too hard to split the difference . He does make a valid point about alternatives to fighting the war against jihadistan (let's not call it war on Terrorism ,that is a misnomer ). I have heard few serious alternatives to the Bush Doctrine .

More than once I have said that Bush will be favorably compared to Herry Truman in that the blue print he designed for fighting the cold war was not altered for many years after his Presidency and although he left office with low ratings due to an unpopular war ;history has absolved his actions.

Radicalism is the right description of the ethnic violence [not civil war] that is happening in Iraq and the key to understanding it is in the instigations by jihadists like Zarqwai and the Mahdi-hatter in Tehran .Without these external stoking of the flames by outside agitators these incidents would be no more significant than ethnic tensions that periodically erupt into violence in many other stable countries . The conclusion I reached long ago is that the Iraq mission would not be concluded until Syria and Iran are held to account .

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HANK1 asked on 08/10/06 - CASSIUS CLAY:

Voted the Sportsman of the Century in 1999 by Sports Illustrated. We know him as Muhammad Ali, the boxer. Please read:

"Following his ascension to champion, he also became famous for other reasons: he revealed that he was a member of the Nation of Islam (often called the Black Muslims at the time) and changed his name to Cassius X, discarding his surname as a symbol of his ancestors' enslavement, as had been done by other Nation members such as Malcolm X. He was soon given the name Muhammad Ali by the leader of the Nation, Elijah Muhammad, who revealed the name to Ali as "his true name," although only a few journalists (most notably Howard Cosell) accepted it at that time. The adoption of this name symbolized his new identity as a Black Muslim, and he retained the name even after he later became a Sunni Muslim."

Source: Wikipedia

Does the thought of having a Muslim as our Sportsman of the Century (20th) poke you in your little old heart? Don't some Muslims "sting like a bee?"


tomder55 answered on 08/10/06:

I guess you could make a compelling argument for the case . I'm not even sure his was the greatest impact in his sport . If it was just boxers in the 20th Century I would go with Joe Lewis . I suppose however that he was awarded the recognition because of the influences he had globally that transcended his sport .

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Dark_Crow asked on 07/27/06 - "War against Terrorism"...........................

It appears obvious that America, the UK and Israel are losing the "War against Terrorism". What, in your opinion must be done to accomplish this.

tomder55 answered on 07/28/06:

The first part of waging a successful war is identifying your enemy and knowing you enemy . The enemy is the groups of Muslims and their state sponsors/enablers who would militarily impose a world wide Califate on us dhimmi . Their play book ,like Mein Kampf is the Koran .Theirs is very much a totalitarian philosophy .

Next you have to get your populace behind the effort and confusing them with rhetoric like "war on terrorism " just clouds the issue .

Then you have to mobilize and put your nation on a WAR FOOTING We have not been asked to make the sacrifices needed to win this . The best example of this is our energy policy .We appear to be stuck in status quo ante-bellum ;content to suck dry all the oil and transfer wealth to our enemies in the process. It is insanity to fund both sides of this war .

You have to retool the military to fight this war ,not the cold war .

YOU NEED YOUR INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES brought up to the task and not inflicted with Church Committee like restraints .Get rid of the career hacks who's only concern is protecting their turf .

The same goes for our diplomatic corp. Condi is initiating reforms but she is also in danger of being swallowed by the bureaucracy.
A good step would be to confirm John Bolton's position at the UN. He is the kind of diplomat we need. He could very well be the best we've ever had at the UN.

Most of all both the intel agencies and the diplomatic corp has to support the President's policies . We send too many mixed signals out to the world .

We have to stop thinking we are in the fantasy land 1990s and secure our homefront including our borders and neighborhoods.

We have to get all our leaders on the same page . Even Neville Chamberlain eventually supported Churchill's war effort .

Just some thoughts on how this war can be won . there are more but done for now .

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Bradd asked on 07/27/06 - Israel's Shelling of the UN Post

After hours of communication from the UN post to Israel informing them that their fire was hitting the UN area, Israel finally managed to destroy it, killing 4 UN personnel.

Does anyone believe that Israel didn't know exactly what they were doing?

Their PR denials were shockingly reminiscent of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty - a US "spy" ship in international waters that was attacked by the Israelis in the late 60's and for which Israel has continued to deny responsibility almost 40 years later.

There is no question that Israel attacked that ship and killed dozens of American sailors.

tomder55 answered on 07/28/06:

I answered a simular question in Politics Board

Koffi lied but the NY Slimes et al reported it dutifully .But there are unconvienient facts that blow his story out of the water including the email from a Canadian "peace keeper" that confirms the fact that Hezbollah was using the UNIFIL position as human shields .
How many times can the Israelis apologize for the mistake in hitting the Liberty ? Israel gave a formal apology and paid compensation to the families of the men so your facts are incorrect .

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MicroGlyphics asked on 07/27/06 - Media Bias and the Problem with Talk Show Hosts

I listen to both Right Wing and Left Wing radio talk shows during drive time. Both sides accuse the Mass Media, of which they are each components, of media bias. It happens that the Right insists the media is biased Left, and the Left insists the media is biased Right. Obviously, then, the media may well not be biased but rather is shoddy and diluted.

I read articles from both sides, too. Sure some so-called reporters might be biased. Just as sure some reporters are even competent, but on balance, reporting is like Swiss cheese, full of holes replete with omissions, intentionally and otherwise. Editors are complicit in this, too.

Talk show hosts on both sides, generally presumed to be preaching to their respective choirs, making all sorts of false and misleading statement as well as statements out of context with poorly research support (or lack thereof).

The way I attempt to get a fuller picture is to read and listen to both perspectives. Of course this is not an optimal approach because the world is not 2-dimensional. I know most people are guilty of Group Think and tend to flock like sheep to an ideological base. I also know that most people tend to single-source there news or severely restrict their input in an attempt to diminish cognitive dissonance, I suppose.

Do you feel the media is slanted or biased? If so, which way? How do you get your news?

tomder55 answered on 07/27/06:

Oldstillwild makes a great point . The fact is that all media sources have their biases . In my view ;before the net there were few counterpoints available to most .

I have a variety of sources from all persectives I read ;including fringe bloggers from both sides of the spectrum .If nothing else they are good at finding the falacies of a standard news report .

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tonyrey asked on 07/27/06 - The Insanity of War.

............................................Decisive military outcomes have become much less common in interstate wars since World War II. Why?

"The argument that fares best in these tests is that improved methods of maintaining peace, specifically the development of peacekeeping, help combatants bring an end to the war rather than fight to the finish."

Since indecisive wars usually lead to further fighting surely it is wiser to negotiate a settlement at the outset rather than cause so much unnecessary suffering and bloodshed?

tomder55 answered on 07/27/06:

no negotiations have been on and off in the ME since 1948 and it has not brought peace . Sometimes total war and complete victory are the answer. The reason wars have been so indecisive is because these phony rules of engagement like "proportional " war. I answered a simular question by jackreade by saying that the net effect is that they prolong conflict and the body count in the long run is probably greater as a result.

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Dark_Crow asked on 07/26/06 - Is Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki an "anti-Semite"?

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean thinks so. If so why is he being supported by the US?

tomder55 answered on 07/27/06:

show me a Muslim who isn't .

The Dems cringe every time Dean opens his mouth . Maliki has to play to the home crowd. He took great risks by coming to the US but he also has to show that he is not a puppet.The Democrats who are making a big deal about this are not seeing the big picture (as usual) . Who cares if the whole state of Iraq hates Israel ? I would be content with the notion that they will not attack or threaten her.

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MicroGlyphics asked on 07/26/06 - Would tensions in the Middle East be as high as it is now if the US hadn't invaded Iraq?

Now that the US has beaten the hornets' nest of the Middle East, the hornets are restless and stinging. The US is upset that it cannot seem to put the hornets back in the nest, and so continues to attack the nest directly and through proxy. While I agree that some hornets have been stirring for years and decades, would they be as agitated if the US hadn't bothered them?

The US has given as rationale WMD and 9/11 as provocations for having attacked the sovereign nation of Iraq, an impoverished and despotic yet secular state. None of this was proven true, so the rationale was shifted to Democracy, but the US does not respect a democracy when it isn't fashioned in a manner acceptable by the US, say, Iran, Lebanon, and Venezuela.

Soviet-style Communism was an abject failure in part by two large reasons: attempts to micro-manage the macro-economy (let's call this meddling), and offensive interference by Western powers (let's call this meddling). So, meddling appears to be at the root of failure. Why, then, have we not learnt our lessons and stopped meddling in the affairs of otherespecially sovereignnations?

Of course it should not be a secret that I am opposed to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, but that does not diminish the quality of the question: Would tensions in the Middle East be as high as it is now if the US hadn't invaded Iraq?

tomder55 answered on 07/26/06:

hmmmm let's see .

The Oslo War aka the al-Aqsa Intifada began in September 2000 until about 2005 .It started almost immediately after Arafat turned down a deal at Camp David that would've given the Palestinians almost everything they wanted except for the bogus demand for "right of return " . The death toll is estimated to be 3,223 Palestinians and 950 Israelis .

So my answer is that yes tensions would be at least as high . The decision by the Iranian mullahs to seat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President would've happened regardless of the Iraq intervention . and probably the proliferation threat would've been greater because for sure with what we know now ;the sanction regime checking Saddam would've failed due to the corruption of the Oil for Food Scandal ....and Saddam ,now unchecked would almost assuredly would've reconstituted his nuclear and biological programs just to have a deterence against the mullahs. You would have WMD in the hands of 2 mad-men in the region .

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tonyrey asked on 07/24/06 - Who is benefiting from the Middle East conflict?


tomder55 answered on 07/24/06:

The mullahs in Tehran . They have the world distracted from their nuke program . Meanwhile the centrafuges whirl away 24/7 .
When the eventually leave the NPT they will say "see ;Israel is as big a threat as we say they are" .

In many ways a good comparison can be made with the Spanish civil war. It was cearly a factional internal struggle in Spain .However there was a certain denial that Hitler was calling the shots . He used the conflict as a trial of blitzkrieg tactics. Simularily Tehran is testing it's capabilities in preparation to their eventual conflict with the US .

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hmghaly asked on 07/23/06 - Lebanon!!

I cannot believe how almost everybody here view the situation in Lebanon. How can the response to the kidnapping of two soldiers be the destruction of a whole country, with all indescriminate killing and maiming... and when Hezbollah responds- then everyone points to it and says: "see what the terrorists are doing!" I am just so sickened of all international hypocracy surrounding this issue...

All the best,

tomder55 answered on 07/23/06:

Hussein ;you got it backwards

Israel is very specific in it's targetting there is nothing indescriminate in it . It is Hezbollah that is launching the Katyushas. The Katyusha rockets is an unguided munition . They are able to deliver a devastating amount of explosives to a target in a short period of time, although with poor accuracy .When launched at an Israeli city it is soley for the purpose of terror .

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Dark_Crow asked on 07/19/06 - Somehow, logic has flown out the window............

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi argued, "A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a war in Iraq can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon".

I would agree that America should foot the bill for evacuation of citizens for whom America sent to Lebanon, but what of citizens with duel citizenship and in Lebanon by there own means. Why should taxpayers foot the bill for the evacuation of those who are there on vacation? In the beginning, the State Department was going to charge regular airfare but then dropped the plan. Somehow, logic has flown out the window.

tomder55 answered on 07/21/06:

my take on this issue can be found in this post on the Politics Board

The State Dept. has published travel advisories for years warning Americans that Lebanon is a dangerous place. That absolves them from absolute responsibility . However the gvt. has done an outstanding herculean to get the assets in place to extract the apx. 8000 Americans who actually want assistance to leave .The work is dangerous and risky to both evacuees and our brave military taking part in the operation . Of course that doesn't stop some of the ingrates from complaining about the rocky boat ride or that the military wasn't there like a chauffer ready to pick them up from evening dinner. I would've gladly paid the expense and would've been very grateful for the service the country provided .

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jackreade asked on 07/19/06 - A Challenge from Dershowitz

My argument is that by hiding behind their own civilians, the Islamic radicals issue a challenge to democracies: either violate your own morality by coming after us and inevitably killing some innocent civilians, or maintain your morality and leave us with a free hand to target your innocent civilians. This challenge presents democracies such as Israel with a lose-lose option and the terrorists with a win-win option. I challenge the readers of this post to recommend to Israel better ways of responding to this challenge. What would you do? What would America do? What should a democracy do?


How would you answer Prof. Dershowitz' challenge?

tomder55 answered on 07/20/06:

it is a relatively modern meme that says civilians should be spared the ravages of war . I'm not sure ,but I have a sense that proportionality and limited rules of engagement actually create a situation where warfare is prolonged but the ultimate carnage is no less if not greater .

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jackreade asked on 07/17/06 - Morally Equivalent

From Yahoo dot com News:

"UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - US Ambassador John Bolton said there was no moral equivalence between the civilian casualties from the Israeli raids in Lebanon and those killed in
Israel from "malicious terrorist acts".

"I think it would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts," he added, while defending as "self-defense" Israel's military action, which has had "the tragic and unfortunate consequence of civilian deaths".

"It's simply not the same thing to say that it's the same act to deliberately target innocent civilians, to desire their deaths, to fire rockets and use explosive devices or kidnapping versus the sad and highly unfortunate consequences of self-defense," Bolton noted.

The overall civilian death toll from the Israeli onslaught in Lebanon since last Wednesday reached 195, in addition to 12 soldiers, officials said. Twenty-four Israelis have also been killed since fighting began last Wednesday, including 12 civilians in a barrage of Hezbollah rocket fire across the border."


Do you have any comments about Bolton's remarks?
Ethically, what are the points to consider?

tomder55 answered on 07/19/06:

interesting . In one case you have Hezzbollah ,using rockets designed by the Ruskies to saturate a battle field without discrimination ,on civilian targets . On the other you have Israel using precision bombing on military targets that happen to be hidden in civilian areas .

I leave you to judge the comparitive morality but I would suggest in both cases it is Hezbollah that is being immoral ;for targetting civilians ,and for putting their own non-combatants at risk .

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jackreade asked on 07/17/06 - Why Now?

I have been thinking a bit today about why Iran is directing its flying monkeys(Hezbollah) to start a war with Israel NOW?

It seems that Iran has "won" the war in Iraq...they now have a Shi'a Crescent, greatly increased presence on the world stage, widening influence......yet scorn for their nuclear ambitions and programs.

Or, are America and Israel likely to have a greater advantage in the eyes of President Immadinthehead.

Why Now?


tomder55 answered on 07/19/06:

Israels air attacks have been successful. But its goal is to obliterate the Hezbollah terrorists which it cant do without ground troops. The question is does Israel have to will to finish the fight . I hope so but they may have been inflicted with the same defeatist attitude that infects the US .

Compare these 2 statements :

The Koran is our constitution, Muhammed is our prophet, jihad is our path and dying as martyrs for the sake of Allah is our biggest wish

Aziz Dweik and the Palestinian Legislature March 28, 2006

We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies.


Israels policy of concessions and retreat have made its enemies that much bolder and more capable. The "international community " pressured them to retreat from Southern Lebanon in 2000 . Hezbollah immediately filled the vacume that created and set the stage for the attacks on Israel today . The feckless UN had "peace keepers" living side by side with Hezzbolah terrorists and failed to do anything even though it was clear they have been preparing for this for years .

Now do I believe that Israel has lost it's nerve ? Of course not . But it is perceptions like this and the false one that we are "bogged down " in Iraq that is driving some of Iran's miscalculations .

What I think you are seeing in Lebanon is to Iran what the Spanish Civil war was to the German military machine ; a testing of arsenal and tactics .

What happens when you use land based radar guidance information to steer a silkworm missle into a ship instead of using it's internal guidance that would expose it to anti-missle defenses from the ship ? You score a direct hit ! The Israel reaction to take out all the coastal radar systems and to bomb a couple of barracks of Lebanese troops who assisted in the operation is called 'disproportunate '.....perceptions

They will use this information when the mad hatter provokes the US into a military confronation in the Gulf to attack the US Navy and oil tankers . It is a terrible miscalculation on his part but we are part to blame by feeding him these perceptions of weakness.

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Dark_Crow asked on 07/15/06 - Is a persons appearance a symbol of a persons moral character?

Is a persons appearance a symbol of a persons moral character?

tomder55 answered on 07/16/06:

no ;but it is a measure of one's self respect.

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cheriskae asked on 07/14/06 - question

do you know who can explain questions related to socilogy?

tomder55 answered on 07/14/06:

captain outrageous is the top expert on the sociology board . I'm sure he would be happy to help .

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Dark_Crow asked on 07/12/06 - legitimate act of war?

Some people believe that the recent kidnapping of Israeli's, first by Hamas, and the other by the Hezbollah of Lebanon is a legitimate act of war. What say you?

tomder55 answered on 07/12/06:

I was not aware that Hezbollah was a nation at war with Israel ...let's ask SCOTUS ;they can twist the wordings of the Geneva conventions to give Geneva protections to non-state terrorist organizations as if they were signatory nation states.

or maybe the UN General Assembly can chime in and condemn Israel for their measured responses to repeated blatant acts of war on them by Hamas who as I recall are the duly elected thugs running Palestine these days .(it is of course still a debatable point that Palestine is a state ). Israel expended alot when it made the decision to disengage from Gaza. The Palistinians living in Hamasistan had a chance for a fresh start . The way I see it the Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders removed any cause for continued aggression against Israel unless they are still committed to their stated policy of Israel's destruction ...and if that is their aim then an appropriate Israeli response would resemble Dresden .

In both cases these were attacks on IDF which in a bizzare way becomes an improvement in their conduct as compared to strapping homicide belts on and blowing up pizza parlors ;or shooting scores of Qassam rockets at civilian targets inside Israel .

If one claims that it is legitimate ,one first has to admit it is an act of war ;an act that Israel certainly has an equal right to respond to if that person is being intellectually honest . Good question ...let's ask the paymasters of Hamas and Hezbollah in Tehran what they think .

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Coup_de_Grace asked on 07/10/06 - Inventing an Emotion

I have been having a discussion with my wife, Susan, who insists that romantic love was an emotion invented and popularized by William Shakespeare. To bolster her argument, she quotes me Professor Harold Bloom. I have to admit, she makes a lot of sense.

Are there other invented emotions? Self-pity, is that one?


Banjamin and Susan Grace

tomder55 answered on 07/11/06:

describing the emotion of romantic love predates Shakespeare by a couple of centuries (at least ).The ancient Greeks as an example used the words "eros" to describe carnal love, and "agape" to mean a spiritual love. Certainly Paris of Troy became infatuated with Helen of Sparta enough to cause the two nations to war for a decade according to Greek literature .

Many of the dating rituals still in use today come from notions of medeval chivalry .The legend of Arhtur predates Shakespeare and is centrally based on the triangulation of Arthur ,Lancelot, and Guenevere which first appeared in a French poem ;'Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart 'by Chrtien de Troyes somewhere between 1177 and 1181.

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Dark_Crow asked on 07/03/06 - Should religious defamation be criminalized?

This is an issue in which several countries are struggling; a Danish newspaper ran a series of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in what many Muslims considered an offensive manner. One issue is in applying such a criminal offence; was the depiction of the Mohammad defamation; where would the line be drawn between criticism and defamation. What if the defamation (an attack on somebodys good name, character, or reputation- slander) is true; for instance, in the case of suicide bombers who are mandated by their religion to commit the act.

tomder55 answered on 07/05/06:

Enough now with this turning the other cheek! Its our duty to protect ourselves.

Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vaticans supreme court

Can you blame him ? The 40+ million Christians in the ummah are an embattled minority whose condition in some cases is overt repression and the very least are the subject of economic decline, dwindling rights,physical jeopardy,despised and distrusted second-class citizens, facing discrimination in education, jobs, and the courts. As a result the Christian population in the ummah is in free fall as they flee persecution.

KORAN [4.89] They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.

Crow ;I believe in telling it like it is . Their scriptual text is like Mein Kampf ;a PLAY BOOK .

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Dark_Crow asked on 06/29/06 - Sothe detainees stay locked-up until Bush convinces congress to change the law; is that what the pl

Sothe detainees stay locked-up until Bush convinces congress to change the law; is that what the plan is?

tomder55 answered on 06/30/06:

yup ;if they are deemed pow by Geneva standards then we have the right to detain them until the conflict(war against jihadists /al=Qaeda et-al) is over .

The thing that amazes me is the tacit recognition of a non-state /non-signatory entity by the Supremes as having Geneva Covention protections as if al-Qaeda was a nation unto itself . al -Qaeda a terrorist organization has now been granted the status of 'state ' without all the correlating responsibilities of a state .In a more civilized time such organizations were considered pirates and were dealt with appropriately

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ttalady asked on 06/24/06 - One last chance....

I believe it's been a year and a half, closer to two. I have missed you all and have grown so.... very much. I left when a certain person on this site opened up my eyes. I always thought she/he liked me/understood however I hurt this person enough to block me. I heard you and hope you will except my apology!

From there, I have learned much. About this world, myself, and people in general. I really wanted to start fresh, new poster, but it would not let me. I am stuck with my maiden name, LOL!

So let me start with this:

Why can American boys not play futbol?

Just kiddin'

There is just one question really, how are ya'll?

tomder55 answered on 06/25/06:

it's not that we can't play ...we just planned for an early exit strategy from Nuremberg .

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Dark_Crow asked on 06/20/06 - North Korean missile capable of hitting Alaska and even Los Angeles.

I don't know what drives international politics. Often there is an international commotion and not only does the press sound silly, but the reaction of politicians. For instance, the commotion about North Korea and its missile.

I found at least one sensible article I would like to share.

"Lurking behind the story of course is the image of a long-range North Korean missile capable of hitting Alaska and even Los Angeles.
It is a false image, and one that even if true, would be the least of America's worries".

tomder55 answered on 06/20/06:

DC ;

I appreciate William M. Arkin's lack of concern but I do not share it. "It is frankly irrelevent that they were unable to deploy a satellite .For a weapons purpose the fact that they almost achieved orbit is significant .

They successfully launched a multi-stage rocket (3 stages )in 1998 . N Korea claimed that the purpose of the launch was to deploy a satellite and that it was a success. We did not hear any signal from it so we assume the test failed during the 3rd stage . None-the-less it proved they were capable of launching a multi-staged rocket ;no one denies the 1st 2 stages acted as they should .They came very close in 1998 to proving that they could not only launch at the Western US ( a 2 stage rocket could do that ) but had they achieved orbit ;conceivably anywhere else in the world .

The test firing was provocative then as they did not inform Japan that they were going to over-fly the nation ;and by not announcing their intentions now they are being equally provocative .

In 2003 a Japanese publication reported that N.Korea and Iran were in negotiations for Iran to purchase TD 2s (the 1998 rocket was a TD1 ). The rocket on the pad now is a TD2 . It is uncertain if they have successfully miniaturized a nuclear payload yet but I have no doubt that is also in development .

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jackreade asked on 06/19/06 - Note, to Newcomers

Sorry to break in here, but a note to all the "newcomers" who have started posting in the last few days. The regulars have known each other for 6 1/2 years(active on the Askme Philosophy Board as well as here) and would consider it an act of kindness on your part not to come here and be disruptive.

Thanks so much for your consideration.

Kindest regards,

tomder55 answered on 06/20/06:

that's a helluva Hi ;how are you ,nice to meet ya

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Crazy_Ape asked on 06/19/06 - Why is North Korea doing this now, going to test a long-range missile?

On February 10, 2005, North Korea declared that it had acquired nuclear weapons.

North Korea spends about 25% of its GNP on the military.

What should U.S. policy be toward North Korea?

tomder55 answered on 06/20/06:

Why is N Korea doing the charade ? Well my best guess is that South Korea is getting alot of attention at the World Cup Games . That coupled with the fact that the world has turned it's attention to the growing menace of the Iranian nuclear program ;with the lunatic holocost denying President Ahmadinejad all but anouncing that he will use them in blatant aggression to destroy Israel. Kim Jong Il is equally unstable and likes to be the center of attention . He is the center of a personality cult.He runs the country much like any other gangster would .One of their biggest industries is forging US money .

We are persuing the same failed negotiation strategy with Iran that we used in the 1990s in an attempt to stop the N Korean program. He may believe that like in the past the more aggressive he gets the better deal he gets .

Kim Jong Il is equally unstable and likes to be the center of attention . He is the center of a personality cult.He runs the country much like any other gangster would .One of their biggest industries is forging US money .

They have fueled the rocket according to sattelite imagery and that is close to irreversable .It is now a use it or lose it scenario . Since this is in effect a non-declared test it poses a threat to the US and it's allies . We would be justified to "test " our anti-missle defense on this launch .

jackreade asked on 06/19/06 - Critical Thinking Re: Iraq

Isn't it true that America won the War on Iraq and claimed that victory in the (in)famous speech by Bush on an aircraft carrier....THE MISSION ACCOMPLISHED SPEECH...when he declared the war over!....war was over then because the US Military Forces invaded Iraq, captured the capital city, scattered their army, sent their leader fleeing (and he was eventually captured and put on trial). War over.

The problem for America has been THE OCCUPATION. An extremely short war, a very troubling and bloody occupation.

I'm correct, aren't I?

tomder55 answered on 06/20/06:

On other boards I have stated the reason why the speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln was made . But I will explain again .

General Tommy Franks was in command of OIF . In his book ,"American Soldier" he expalained that it was he who requested the President to make a declaration that the military phase of the operation was over . In his words : "I wanted to get the phase of military operation over as quickly as I could, because a lot of countries on this planet had said as soon as that major stuff is over, we'll come in and help with all of the peacekeeping." He continued, saying he was proud of Bush because he did what I, as the commander, had asked him to do. So if there's a mistake there, it's mine, not a plot. "

So the speech was in fact an effort to get more involvement from the beloved " International Community ".
For anyone who was actually listening Bush made it clear in the speech that there was still a long road to hoe in Iraq .In a press conference he later elaborated on that point :

"The "Mission Accomplished" sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed some how to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way. But my statement was a clear statement, basically recognizing that this phase of the war for Iraq was over and there was a lot of dangerous work. And it's proved to be right, it is dangerous in Iraq. "

If Bush made a mistake it was that he let this festering Democrat talking point go on so long without rebuttal .

I agree with the argument made by Jon about the term "occupation " . Even though at times our stay there has resembled occupation (especially during "viceroy" Bremer's term as head of the 'Coalition Provisional Authority').Our troops are there to help provide security ;help rebuild the country and usher in a democratic Iraq. Yes we could've left after we scattered their army, sent their leader fleeing just like we did in 1991 after we had incited insurrection that cost the Shia and Kurdish populations hundreds of thousands of lives . Simularily if we were to bug out too soon in Iraq the carnage would be as horrible . We are almost finished there . I do not see anything more than a few garrison bases established by alliance with the Iraqi gvt. once the Iraqi security forces have matured simular to what we have had in S. Korea ,Japan ,Germany etc.

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jackreade asked on 06/13/06 - Stephen Hawking

Today in the news, there was a story that states that Stephen Hawking thinks human beings should start colonizing other planets in order to survive as a species because he believes we have roughly 100 years before humans go extinct by destroing the earth as a fit place to live.

I have been thinking aobut this off and on today. There is a possibility that a person born this year could be alive at the end of the world. Stephen Hawking out and saying his views adds immediacy to all the problems everyone faces.

Anyway, I am filled with questions and concerns.

Would it be moral or ethical to forceably reduce human population in view of our dire straits(assuming that would be beneficial)?

Take other steps that might be considered extreme?

Is surviving as a species and saving the living inhabitants of earth an ethical must?

Should we just accept the inevitable?

tomder55 answered on 06/14/06:

right now we can't get humans in or out of low earth orbit very efficiently or safely . We are doing remarkable things with robotic exporation but we just can't get over that human safety factor. Imagine if Colombus was contrained by a no risk factor .

as for Hawkings ;I agree it is human destiny to explore and colonize outside our rock .But he should perhaps put his vast mind to trying to solve the problems here on earth instead of being so defeatist .

No I do not believe in forced population control . The Chinese are already feeling the negative effects of that by having too many men of age and not enough women.

Survival is instinctual but inevidibly all things come to an end .We of faith just think the end is a new beginning . The earth has rotated it's stock a few times since life emerged here ;it will probably do so again .

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NCohen asked on 06/08/06 - A Question on Morality

Good evening, experts,

I have been reading various opinions about the assassination of al Zarqawi today, and I would like your comments about Alan Dershowitz'position. Specifically, addressing the moral topics of hypocricy and the morality of targeted assassination.

"As the civilized world justly celebrates the long overdue killing of Abu M al-Zarqawi, it must recall that his death was brought about by what has come to be known as "targeted assassination" or "targeted killings." This is the same technique that has been repeatedly condemned by the international community when Israel has employed it against terrorists who have murdered innocent Jews.
When Israel targeted the two previous heads of Hamas, the British foreign secretary said: "targeted killings of this kind are unlawful and unjustified." The same views expressed at the United Nations and by several European heads of state. It was also expressed by various Human Rights organizations.

Now Great Britain is applauding the targeted killing of a terrorist who endangered its soldiers and citizens. What is the difference, except that Israel can do no right in the eyes of many in the international community. Surely there is no real difference between Zarqawi on the one hand and terrorist leaders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the other hand. If it is argued that Sheik Yassin was merely a spiritual leader of Hamas (a total lie since he explicitly authorized numerous terrorist acts), then it must be noted that one of the people targeted by the United States was Sheik Abd-al-Rahman, who was also described as a "spiritual advisor."

When the United States and British forces have engaged in targeted killings of terrorists, there have often been collateral deaths of non terrorists, as there apparently were in this instance as well. The military announced preliminary findings that a woman and a child were among the dead. Collateral deaths are inevitable when terrorists hide among civilians and use them as shields. Both Israel and the United States make great efforts to reduce the number of collateral deaths and injuries but they do not always succeed.

I applaud the targeted killing of Al Zarqawi. His death will save many innocent lives. But I also applaud the targeted killings of anti-Israel terrorists whose deaths save numerous lives. All decent people must insist on a single standard of judging tactics such as targeted killing. It is nothing short of bigotry to approve this tactic when used by the United States and Great Britain but to condemn it when it is used by Israel." A Dershowitz

Thank you.

tomder55 answered on 06/12/06:

it seems to me that targetted killing is the quickest most efficient way to end wars . There used to be an unstated understanding in warfare that in battle the officers were not to be targetted ;making the common troops the grist . But a decapitation strike is the quickest way to end a battle . In WWII civilians were the target on both sides of the conflict .That was less moral . Would it not have been more moral to (if possible) target Hitler for a direct hit ? Why should the leadership be immune ?

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Bradd asked on 04/24/06 - Revolutions - and More Revolutions

Since the 18th century there have been three major revolutions (political) - American, French and Russian.

Which one has effected the world the most?

tomder55 answered on 04/24/06:

The American Revolution heavily influenced the French Revolution but I do not think the impact of the French Revolution was lasting .The American form of government has been more or less stable in the 200 + years since the revolution and certainly since 1865 .

The Russian system collapsed and they have since after a brief foray in democracy are reverted back to their tzarist models. But ;it can be argued that the Russian Revolution also inspired the Chinese Revolution . It remains to be seen if their political system can survive their economic modernization.

Since free nations emulate the constitutional model of governance I'd have to say that the American Revolution was the most influential .

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tonyrey asked on 04/24/06 - Is an International Arms Trade Treaty needed?

...........How effective would it be?

tomder55 answered on 04/24/06:

probably less effective than the nearly defunct NNPT is . Let me ask you ;Who would you deny arms to ? Rogue and repressive Governments ? or perhaps legitimate rebellions to repressive regimes ? In the US we have a right to arms for the specific reason to protect ourselves against the government becoming tyrannical.

Who would decide which nations could sell which weapons to whom ? The UN... who just added a rep. from Iran as vice chair of the UN's disarmament commission ?

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tonyrey asked on 03/29/06 - Science and Ethics

................................ Science and ethics are generally considered totally unrelated but is this the case? To pursue science surely implies that science is worth pursuing and probably that scientific discoveries are important and will benefit mankind. So science must be based on a value judgement, don't you think?

tomder55 answered on 03/29/06:

without ethics you get eugenics and the barbaric experimentation done by the Nazis .

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HerrAirhorn asked on 03/28/06 - Three Years Ago

Three years ago on this Board there was a lot of discussion about what the US policy should be in the midddle east, precisely, should America invade Iraq, and all ancillary questions and ideas. I have cut and pasted part of an article from dailynews dot com for you to read and comment on.

"Eric Haney, a retired command sergeant major of the U.S. Army, was a founding member of Delta Force, the military's elite covert counter-terrorist unit. He culled his experiences for "Inside Delta Force" (Delta; $14), a memoir rich with harrowing stories, though in an interview, Haney declines with a shrug to estimate the number of times he was almost killed. (Perhaps the most high-profile incident that almost claimed his life was the 1980 failed rescue of the hostages in Iran.) Today, he's doing nothing nearly as dangerous: He serves as an executive producer and technical adviser for "The Unit," CBS' new hit drama based on his book, developed by playwright David Mamet. Even up against "American Idol," "The Unit" shows muscle, drawing 18 million viewers in its first two airings.

Since he has devoted his life to protecting his country in some of the world's most dangerous hot spots, you might assume Haney is sympathetic to the Bush administration's current plight in Iraq (the laudatory cover blurb on his book comes from none other than Fox's News' Bill O'Reilly). But he's also someone with close ties to the Pentagon, so he's privy to information denied the rest of us.

We recently spoke to Haney, an amiable, soft-spoken Southern gentleman, on the set of "The Unit."

Q: What's your assessment of the war in Iraq?

A: Utter debacle. But it had to be from the very first. The reasons were wrong. The reasons of this administration for taking this nation to war were not what they stated. (Army Gen.) Tommy Franks was brow-beaten and ... pursued warfare that he knew strategically was wrong in the long term. That's why he retired immediately afterward. His own staff could tell him what was going to happen afterward.

We have *fomented civil war* in Iraq. We have probably fomented internecine war in the Muslim world between the Shias and the Sunnis, and I think *Bush may well have started the third world war*, all for their own personal policies.

Q: What is the cost to our country?

A: For the first thing, our credibility is utterly zero. So we destroyed whatever credibility we had. ... And I say "we," because the American public went along with this. They voted for a second Bush administration out of *fear, so fear is what they're going to have from now on*.

Our military is completely consumed, so were there a real threat - thankfully, there is no real threat to the U.S. in the world, but were there one, we couldn't confront it. Right now, that may not be a bad thing, because that keeps Bush from trying something with Iran or with Venezuela.

The harm that has been done is *irreparable*..."

HerrAirhorn comments: This seems to me to be a realistic assessment of the outcome of neo-Con philosoply Bush implemented as the War in Iraq....WORLD WAR THREE.

Do you agree or have any comments?

tomder55 answered on 03/29/06:

Military men, even very gifted ones, are as susceptible to folly error as the rest of us which is why we should be glad we never had a President MaCarthur or a Vice President Stockdale.

Tommy Franks wrote a best selling book about the war after he retired . Nowhere in the book does he suggest that he was "brow-beaten " ;nor does he dispute in any way the strategy . Why should he ?He completed his phase of the war rapidly even though he did not have the 4th ID to create a Northern Front . He praised Bush and Rummy in it .

I gotta tell Eric Haney to wake up and smell jihadistan . World War III was well underway before Bush assumed office . He should know better .Haney was known best (before his recent gig as a TV consultant) for his escape during the 1980 failed rescue of the hostages in Iran so he was in the fight against Islamo-fascism from the beginning .

I'm sure he was an outstanding Delta Force commander and we should all be tremendously grateful for his service .I intend to read his book 'Inside Delta Force' as I am sure it is fascinating but being a founding member of Delta does not make him an automatic expert on geo-global strategy .I happen to disagree with his assertion that US actions have caused the chain of events he describes .

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Coup_de_Grace asked on 03/25/06 - Ethics in the Twenty-First Century

Is It Ethical to Use Enhancement Technologies to Make Us Better than Well?

"Background to the debate: A variety of biomedical technologies are being developed that can be used for purposes other than treating disease. Such enhancement technologies can be used to improve our appearance and regulate our emotions, with the goal of feeling better than well. While these technologies can help people adapt to their rapidly changing lifestyles, their use raises important ethical issues".

What is your position on this issue?
Thank you.

tomder55 answered on 03/28/06:

I don't see any ethical issue at all. People for centuries have altered their appearance for nothing more than vanity . I suppose that the advanced technologies of the last century included braces to straighten and over-bite ;and plastic surgury .

As far as emotions ;well I can tell you that it is very difficult for someone who is clinically depressed . Right now the person I know has gotten off the rediculous pharmaceutical "happy pills" and is trying a nutritional regimine to deal with it. If biomedical technologies can cure this person without having to deal with the dangerous side effects of chemical treatment then I am all in favor of it .

It is all well to debate ethics but not to the point where we become luddites .

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Dark_Crow asked on 03/09/06 - How did religion begin?

The study of the origin and development of religion is a comparatively new field. For centuries, people more or less accepted the religious tradition into which they were born and in which they were brought up. Most of them were satisfied with the explanations handed down to them by their forefathers, feeling that their religion was the truth. There was seldom any reason to question anything, nor the need to investigate how, when, or why things got started. In fact, for centuries, with limited means of travel and communication, few people were even aware of other religious systems.
During the 19th century, however, the picture began to change. The theory of evolution was sweeping through intellectual circles. That, along with the advent of scientific inquiry, caused many to question established systems, including religion. Recognizing the limitations of looking for clues within existing religion, some scholars turned to the remains of early civilizations or to the remote corners of the world where people still lived in primitive societies. They tried to apply to these the methods of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and so forth, hoping to discover a clue as to how religion began and why.

0 What was the outcome? Suddenly, there burst upon the scene many theoriesas many as there were investigators, it seemedwith each investigator contradicting the other, and each endeavoring to outdo the other in daring and originality. Some of these researchers arrived at important conclusions; the work of others has simply been forgotten. It is both educational and enlightening for us to get a glimpse of the results of this research. It will help us to gain a better understanding of the religious attitudes among people we meet

tomder55 answered on 03/10/06:

Who knows ? This Atlantic Monthly essay is a decent read . Ironically we evolved to be creationists .

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Dark_Crow asked on 02/03/06 - purpose of the cartoons about Muslims

I have read that the purpose of the cartoons about Muslims was to, I paraphrase, "find out the reaction of the Muslim community". Now it seems to me likely the information was for the governments' of Europe in order to get a feel for what might be useful towards addressing immigration and assimilation concerns. However, if this were not the case, I should hope this gives them an idea of the possibility of an Arab Europe. I suspect that would cause some concerns for China too. A large enough group to make a majority, which has not assimilated, in time will change the government.

tomder55 answered on 02/07/06:

a rough time line .

Sept. cartoons are published .

mid Jan . Iran President Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Assad meet in Damascus to strategize about the upcoming IAEA meeting .

1st week in Feb. As IAEA meetings commense "spontanious "demonstrations erupt in Europe and elsewhere over the cartoons published in SEPTEMBER .

This past weekend the IAEA recommended "referal" of Iran violations to he UNSC. .....spontanious demonstrations get "out of control " in Damascus and Beirut..The Gaza Strip was also the scene of attacks on European diplomatic missions .

coincidence ?????

the product of Muslim street rage or brainwashed youths taking their marching orders from the clerics ...via direct instructions from Iran ?

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Dark_Crow asked on 02/03/06 - An example of a double standard

Dr. Asad Abu Sharak, a professor of linguistics at Al Azhar University in Gaza thinks so.

" this was an example of a double standard, that when someone denigrates the Holocaust they throw them in jail. But when someone denigrates the religious figure that Muslims hold most dear, they call it freedom of speech".

Is it really a double standard?

tomder55 answered on 02/05/06:

or maybe a double standard is the overblown outrage of the cartooning of Mohammed compared to the destruction of historic Buddhist statues in Afghanistan which did not provoke the same outrage.

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hmghaly asked on 02/02/06 - Hamas again...

Dear all,

Apparently this issue has been raised before, but didn't any of those calling for "Political Reform" in the Middle East recognize the possibility that such groups will reach power due to this??


tomder55 answered on 02/02/06:

The US is right to push for democracy in the region .Like it or not the klepto-monarchists and Stalin wanna-bees days are over. The people will rise up against them with or without US prompting . It was high time that the US gave support to the people instead of the silly 'support the bully for the sake of stability' "real-politik" game we played . What the US should've been doing all those years was supporting democratic initiatives inside the ME . WE were wrong and we have felt the consequences .

The problem in the ME however is that the Islamist jihadists have had a longer time to mobilize and gain the peoples support .So long as this is not one person ,one vote, one time then there will need to be an accountablity from Hamas . They have to deliver the goods.

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Dark_Crow asked on 02/01/06 - Freedom of expression vs. respecting religious beliefs

In response:
"Yes," the newspaper, France-Soir, declared on its front page, "One has the right to make fun of God." Underneath, it offered its own cartoon showing Jesus, Jehovah, Buddha and an upset Mohammed sitting on a cloud. "Don't whine," Jesus is telling the Muslim prophet, "We've all been made fun of here."

Is this carrying freedom too far?

tomder55 answered on 02/02/06:

Crow ;I take offense to people creating art that mocks my faith . I do not have a right to not being offended but they have a right to free expression . Where I draw the line is public funding of art work that disrespects anyones faith .

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Dark_Crow asked on 01/30/06 - destroy Israel?

Philosophically, why do Palestinians want to destroy Israel?

tomder55 answered on 01/31/06:

One would have to go all the way back to the conquests of Mohammed to get a real historical perspective on the modern Middle East (or even further if you really want to recount all the conquerring armies that have marched through the region). One could debate ad-nausium over who's land it rightly belongs to .I have always contended that the right to own land is contingent on you're ability to defend it .

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Jon1967 asked on 01/28/06 - What now?

After the Hamas electoral victory, what now?

No more road-map. No more road.

Too bad for those (few) Palestinians who actually did want peace. Too bad for the Israelis who did want peace. It is now a cold awakening, and the illusions (of those who had them) are now shattered. At least now Israel knows (or should know) what it is dealing with.

tomder55 answered on 01/30/06:

The Palestinans are 'the Lord of the Flies' a truely disfunctional group and the International Community is the modern part time parent who tries to sate their guilt by trying to buy their spoiled children's love.In a way ;they are the welfare State at it's logical conclusion.It says as much about the Palestinians as those nations who serve as their patrons.

I have to see this in the long run as good news . This offers clarity that did not exist . WE patronized Arafat thinking he and Fatah was a legit partner in peace . There can be no bones about Hamas intentions. Their logical patron cannot afford to shell out the bucks the way the US and Europe did . I can't vouch for the Europeans but I think Congress will act to cut off funds to Palestine ;to be reinstated after strict conditions are met (unless the Clintoons regain power ;then all bets are off as the country will go into another haitus from reality for a period of time ) .

I suspect that Fatah will not give up the power they have lightly .They are entrenched in the security aparatus of the "state " .Perhaps the events of the weekend are the opening salvo of the Palestinian civil war .

And Israel ? well now instead of being attacked by a shadowy terrorist group in masks ;they will be attacked by the legitimate government of a nation andshould respond as if any other nation is attacking them .

Dark_Crow asked on 01/23/06 - Hamas: Talks With Israel 'Not a Taboo'

A leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas on Monday raised the possibility of negotiating with Israel through a third party, an overture made on the final day of campaigning for this week's Palestinian parliament elections.
"Negotiation is not a taboo," said Mahmoud Zahar, a prominent Hamas leader in Gaza and a top candidate for the group. He said Hamas would be willing to talk to Israel through a third party, similar to past negotiations between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

The U.S. advocates the spread of democratic elections in the Mideast, and did not pressure Abbas to block Hamas from the race. But because it considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization, "if members of Hamas become members of a Palestinian government, we will not deal with those individuals," U.S. Embassy spokesman Stewart Tuttle said.

My Grand Pappy had more sense than the current Administration/ "Don't make a decision until forced to," and I take by that as meaning, "Don't be close minded to new information".

Israel's response/ silence

tomder55 answered on 01/23/06:

why bother talking to Hamas ? They are controlled by Iran . Better to have direct talks with Iran .

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Dark_Crow asked on 01/19/06 - Bin Laden Makes Truce Offering

Bin Laden Makes Truce Offering On Latest Terror Tape
01.19.2006 5:47 PM EST

White house response:
"During his daily briefing, before the voice was authenticated, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said bin Laden was desperate and "clearly on the run," adding, "we do not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business. The terrorists started this war and the president made it clear that we will end it at a time and place of our choosing.""

Is this a wise response?

tomder55 answered on 01/23/06:

A 'hudna' is actually a temporary cease fire that gives terrorists a chance to rest, rearm, and regroup for the next round of fightinga .'Hudna' is made during times of weakness . Now is not the time to turn down the heat ,but I wish the administration would use OBL's tape as proof that policy is succeeding.

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Choux asked on 12/15/05 - Clarification: Jew-Christian

Ok, now look, Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism, and the culture that developed in Europe is a result of years of the Christian(and Jewish) religion's influence.

Worldview....guilt, perfectionism, sin, legal mentality.....etc....etc...

In Asan culture...NOT sin and guilt mentality and whatever about passivity?

OK, what I wanted to know is what are ten or so qualities of Western Civ that can be traced back to the Jew-Christian religious worldview??

I am not making any value judgement of any kind.
This is just a question....

That's what I am asking...

Mary Sue

PS I was unable to make a clarification under the question due to something or other.

tomder55 answered on 12/21/05:

I'll give it a try ;not so much with world views as in contributions which are off-shoots of world views and valuse anyway.

Science :

Perhaps and arguably Judeo-Christians biggest contribution (I kid you not) The Bible teaches that nature is real, not an illusion. It teaches that it has value and that it is good to work with nature. Historically this was an advance over pagan superstitions because the latter saw nature as something to be worshipped or as something filled with spirits which weren't to be angered.

The first person to measure the rate of acceleration of a freely falling body was Fr. Giambattista Riccioli

The man who has been called the father of Egyptology was Fr. Athanasius Kircher

Fr. Roger Boscovich, who has been described as "the greatest genius that Yugoslavia ever produced," has often been called the father of modern atomic theory.

35 craters on the moon are named after Jesuit scientists and mathematicians.

Leo XIII started the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and established an astronomical observatory.

The Jesuits were deeply involved in many aspects of modern science. The Jesuits
contributed to the development of pendulum clocks, pantographs, barometers, reflecting telescopes and microscopes.They observed, in some cases before anyone else, the colored bands on Jupiters surface, the Andromeda nebula and Saturns rings. They theorized about the theoretical possibility of flight, the way the moon effected the tides, and the wave-like nature of light. Star maps of the southern hemisphere, symbolic logic, flood-control measures on the Po and Adige rivers, introducing plus and minus signs into Italian mathematics ...all were typical Jesuit achievements.When Johannes Kepler posited that planetary orbits were elliptical rather than circular, Catholic astronomer Giovanni Cassini verified Keplers position through observations he made in the Basilica of San Petronio.

Economics :

Joseph Schumpeter, one of the great economists of the twentieth century, paid tribute to the contributions of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish theologians in his History of Economic Analysis (1954). "[I]t is they ..who come nearer than does any other group to having been the founders of scientific economics."

The creation of the university:

The institution that we recognize today, with its faculties, courses of study, examinations, and degrees, as well as the familiar distinction between undergraduate and graduate study, come to us directly from the medieval world dominated by the Catholic Church . And it is no surprise that the Church should have done so much to foster the university system, since the Church, according to historian Lowrie Daly, "was the only institution in Europe that showed consistent interest in the preservation and cultivation of knowledge." "Thanks to the repeated intervention of the papacy," writes historian Henri Daniel-Rops, "higher education was enabled to extend its boundaries; the Church, in fact, was the matrix that produced the university, the nest whence it took flight."

Trusting liberty :

As God loved us, so it is fitting for us to respond with love. Since in creating us He knew what He was doing and He it, we have reason to trust His will. He created us with understanding and free will; creation was a free act. Since He made us in His image, well ought we to say with Jefferson: "The God who gave us life gave us liberty."

Charitable work

In the ancient world of Greece and Rome, there was often contempt for the poor, and when people did show compassion toward them it was often just to show off or to put the poor in their debt. The church totally overturned that and brought a completely new way of thinking about the poor and about human life.

law and order :

In the era following "the disruption of Charlemagne's empire", it was the Christian Church which labored to combat the forces of disintegration and decay,and succeeded little by little in restraining violence and in restoring order, justice, and decency. Later Judeo-Christian values were encoded into common law.

Health care .

In 325 A.D., the Council of Nicea decreed that hospitals were to be duly established wherever the Church was established .In his book, The Story of Medicine, Roberto Margotta says that the Hebrews made an important contribution to medicine by their knowledge of personal hygiene given in the book of Leviticus. In fact, he says, "the steps taken in mediaeval Europe to counteract the spread of 'leprosy' were straight out of the Bible." In the Middle Ages monks provided physical relief to the people around them. Some monasteries became infirmaries. Medicines were made up by the monks themselves from plants grown in the herb garden. Monks were often better doctors than their lay counterparts and were in great demand.

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tonyrey asked on 11/05/05 - Evolution and intelligent design..........

Are they necessarily incompatible?

tomder55 answered on 11/07/05:

yes they are incompatable :ID should be taught in a philosophy curriculum ,not in science ;but it should be taught . The one exception to this is that science should be secure in it's discipline to be able to address the obvious gaps in evolution that ID proponents point out .

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Bradd asked on 10/31/05 - Logic Can Be Fun - Or Can It?

Read the following sentence.

"This statement is a lie".

Is the sentence a lie or not a lie?

If it's a lie, then the sentence is not a lie. If it's not a lie, then the sentence is a lie.

True or false, in place of lie, works too.

tomder55 answered on 11/03/05:

I think I saw this statement wipe out a computer on Star Trek .

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Choux asked on 10/19/05 - Crimes against Humanity

Saddam Hussein has objected to being put on trial for Crimes against Humanity citing that the court has no jurisdiction over him.

Since we have been speaking of justice, I wonder how any body has authority over the actions of a head of state. Is there a genuine authority?

I am aware of the Nuremberg Trials after WWII, and thr trial of Milosevic of former Yugoslavia.

Under what authority?

tomder55 answered on 10/20/05:

He is being tried by the correct people to put him on trial ...the Iraqis . See my link to Iraqi blogger Mohammed here .

The Iraqi people have great hope and expectations invested in this trial ;more than I ever dared to dream possible.

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Dark_Crow asked on 07/29/05 - bin Laden's, Declaration of War

I am certainly surprised that so few people have read Osama bin Laden's, Declaration of War written from Afghanistan on August 23, 1996. In it is a wealth of information about what drives the Muslim discontent with the West.
The problem began when Zionist Jews began moving into Muslim lands (the Arab Peninsula) a century ago, followed by venture capitalist protected by a military presence in those same lands. And then this followed by what he refers to as the Regime that is, Egypt and Saudi Arabia primarily.
Osama bin Laden wrote:
By opening the Arab peninsula to the crusaders the regime disobeyed and acted against what has been enjoined by the messenger of Allah (Allah's Blessings and Salutations be on him), while he was on his deathbed: (Expel the polytheists from the Arab Peninsula); narrated by Al-Bukhari; and: (If I survive, Allah willing, I will expel the Jews and the Christians out of the Arab Peninsula); Saheeh Al-Jame'-As-Sagheer. It is out of date and no longer acceptable to claim that the presence of the Crusaders is a necessity and only a temporary measure to protect the land of the two Holy Places. Especially when the civil and the military infrastructures of Iraq were savagely destroyed, showing the depth of the Zionist/Crusader hatred for the Muslims and their children, and also since the rejection of the idea of replacing the Crusader forces by an Islamic force composed of the sons of the country and other Muslim people. It should not be hidden from you that the people of Islam had suffered from aggression, iniquity and injustice imposed on them by the Zionist/Crusaders alliance and their collaborators; to the extent that the Muslims' blood became cheap and their wealth became as loot in the hands of the enemies. Their blood was spilled in Palestine and Iraq. The horrifying pictures of the massacre of Qana, in Lebanon, are still fresh in our memory. Massacres in Tajikistan, Burma, Kashmir, Assam, Philippines, Fatani, Ogaden, Somalia, Eritrea, Chechnya and in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place, massacres that send shivers through the body and shake the conscience. All of this the world watched and heard yet not only didn't respond to these atrocities, but also, with a clear conspiracy between the U.S.A. and its allies and under the cover of the iniquitous United Nations, the dispossessed people were even prevented from obtaining arms to defend themselves. Through its course of actions, the regime has torn off its shade of legitimacy:
(1) Suspension of the Islamic Shari'ah law and exchanging it with man-made civil law. The regime entered into a bloody confrontation with the truthful Ulema and the righteous youths (we sanctify nobody; Allah sanctifies whom He pleases).
(2) The inability of the regime to protect the country, and allowing the enemy of the Ummah, the American Crusader forces, to occupy the land for the longest of years. The Crusader forces became the main cause of our disastrous condition, particularly in the economical aspect of it, due to the unjustified heavy spending on these forces, and as a result of the policies imposed on the country, especially in the field of oil industry, where production is restricted or expanded and prices are fixed to suit the American economy, ignoring the economy of the country. Expensive deals were imposed on the country to purchase arms. People were asking, what is the justification for the very existence of the regime then?

tomder55 answered on 07/31/05:

the pablum is even harder to take when you read the the complete text .If there was no Israel and no western presence in the larger Arabian peninsula there would still be violent jihad waged on the borders of the Muslim nations and it would all have some convoluted justification . Jihad today is waged in Indonesia ,Thailand ,India , Timor ,most of the former Soviet Republics ,the Balkans ,sub Sahara Africa. This doesn;t even include the Islamofascist's trumpeting their desire to restore the Islamic territories of al-Andalus , which has been known as SPAIN since 1492 .Where is the Israeli connection ? The post-Mecca Koran and the appended teachings of Mohammed call for jihad against all the enemies of God, calling for Muslims to put terror into the hearts of unbelievers .

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Jon1667 asked on 07/25/05 - What do you think?
What do you think?

'These people have to be torn to pieces," he said of those responsible for the attack. "They should be brought to a public square and slaughtered." '

Muhammed Mansour, an Egyptian, who was badly injured in the attack by terrorists on the Ghazal Gardens Hotel in Sharm El Sheik

tomder55 answered on 07/26/05:

the bombings were acts of war ,and the Egyptians should respond in kind .

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Oldstillwild asked on 07/21/05 - Shoot to kill!

Wild west in Florida.
Is it wise and responsible and defensible to grant any individual the right and the supposedly present ability to determine if it is morally justified to shoot and kill,execute,any moving goal,that does evoke feelings of being threatened(at home,around the property or in one's car)?
Isnt it and wont it become a large extension of capital punishment ,without using a jury thru the judiciary system?

tomder55 answered on 07/25/05:

yes ,and it is a core part of our individual rights to defend ourselves .

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Jon1667 asked on 07/24/05 - "Terrorism" and the BBC

"The BBC has re-edited some of its coverage of the London Underground and bus bombings to avoid labelling the perpetrators as "terrorists", it was disclosed yesterday.

Early reporting of the attacks on the BBC's website spoke of terrorists but the same coverage was changed to describe the attackers simply as "bombers".

The BBC's guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the "careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments".

Consequently, "the word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding" and its use should be "avoided", the guidelines say."

Do you think that the application of the word "terrorist" to terrorists is a "careless use of words...which...can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding"? How, do you suppose, could anyone believe such a thing?

tomder55 answered on 07/25/05:

Our enemies are specific ;and should be named .That would help the population of the
West realize that yes we are actually in a war for our survival . It is not helpful when the BBC within hours of the London attacks changed the word "terrorists " to "bombers".

The West hampers it's efforts with political correctness. In WWII posters defining the enemy were all over the place .But today Islamo-fascism can't be condemned because that would imply superiority in our core western values.We can't have that as we've known since the 1960's that we are root of all evil in the world. 'Jihadistan' gives a name to the Muslims who's goal is the creation of a Global Caliphate . Terrorism is their prefered form of asymetrical warfare .

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tonyrey asked on 07/17/05 - How would you decide whether a criminal is insane?


tomder55 answered on 07/20/05:

I am in fovor of the sentence 'Guilty but insane '.That would eliminate alot of the fence walking .

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Oldstillwild asked on 07/04/05 - Spreading the news

Today,mankind destroyed a biljons of years old object in space , leaving their mark.
What kind of mark would that be ,do you think?

tomder55 answered on 07/12/05:

we proved we could intercept one of those bad boys . When a killer asteroid next is on a collision course with the Earth there is a chance of survival . Put a nuke on one of them interceptors .......survival is the name of the game.

oh yeah ,there was also some additional scientific reasons for the expense .

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Oldstillwild asked on 07/07/05 - More bombings

Its no use paying excessive media-attention to bombings.We live in the bombing-era and we just have to live with that more allertness.

tomder55 answered on 07/12/05:

I disagree . We should be informed of all the terrorist bombings . The true nature of the threat cannot be revealed by sugar coating it in denial .

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DesertRose asked on 05/11/05 - Other catagories.

What are some good catagories to sign up in on answerway. I think I might like to expand alittle. :-)


tomder55 answered on 05/13/05:

Christitanity and Politics are 2 very active boards . Check em out . They don't always stay strictly on topic so even if you don't think you can contribute .;you may be suprised .

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picassocat asked on 04/18/05 - Decriminalisation of Drugs

Should drugs (eg marijuana, cocaine etc) be decriminalised?

tomder55 answered on 04/19/05:

no ;we would pay a higher social cost than we do now keeping them illegal .I am open to debate about marijuana .....cocaine furgetaboutit!

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MicroGlyphics asked on 04/18/05 - Why is Democracy desirable?

Admittedly, this is a baited question, but with all of this talk about the spreading of Democracy as desirable, I couldnt resist. What is the best form of government and why?

Of course Plato argued that a Republic was preferable to Democracy, but I cant agree with this either. Aristocracies and Theocracies dont seem to work any better than Monarchies and Oligarchies. Anarchy doesnt seem to be a viable solution.

Why do I feel Democracy is not the way to go? Let me simplify it, as theorists often are wont to do. To start, let us presume we have a population of 3. I choose an odd number so we dont have to content with a tie. Let us presume we will democratically decide on a purchase decision, say, of an automobile. So we vote.
What color should the car be? We each have an opinion. A wants a red car. B wants a green car. C wants a black car. OK. Not a good start. At least 2 of these people will have to settle for a sub-optimal solution, perhaps all 3 if they decide on beige so as not to favour anyone in particular. Now what?

Automobiles can be purchased with manual or automatic transmission. A and C prefer automatic, but B prefers manual, so he is outvoted. B is left with a sub-optimal solution. Perhaps he can at least be consoled by having the car be green.

Well, now let them decide on the type of car. A prefers a roomy car, while B and C favour economy. So, we are now at a point where we are considering an economical, if less roomy, car with automatic transmission. Now, A sees this as a sub-optimal solution.

Well, perhaps the last decision point will be for the interior. Of what material should the seats be made? A and B prefer leather, but C prefers cloth, as he prefers not to use animal products. However, C has to settle for a sub-optimal solution.

So, in the end we have a system where everyone ends up with a sub-optimal result. Hardly a great system to be sure. Does it matter that at least these people had a say in he decision-making process. I dont think so.
What if a beneficent Autocrat had decided that these people would be purchasing a roomy red car with automatic transmission, and leather seats? Sure, I know I am stacking the deck here, but I am authoring this, so I will take literary license. In this case, A would actually have his optimum preferencelocal optima, and B and C would not be any worse off.

When de Tocqueville said a Democracy requires an educated populace, he is referring to education in the form of political education. There is too much information, misinformation, and disinformation about to allow for a truly educated decision in this Media-Industrial age.

Moreover, it was Franklin who said that a democracy wont vote its rights away. We see this all around us, the epitome of this being evidenced by the passing (and general acceptance) of the Patriot Act in the US.
So, again I ask, "Why is Democracy desirable"?

tomder55 answered on 04/19/05:

I think you mean benevolent.If all monarchs were benevolent, monarchy would be a tolerable form of government. Machiavelli's idea of benevolent despotism ('The Prince')involves the notion that a good monarch must rule, not for his own good, but for the good of the whole country. He is responsible for the welfare of his subjects, and is personally accountable to God, not only for his own conduct, but also for the conduct of his officials towards the people. It is an essential part of his duty that he should appoint as government officers only those who are God-fearing, learned, pious, and righteous.Trouble is that is not a human trait as humans are faillable . Those of us with Christian leanings believe that the Messiah will reign on earth some time in the future. Only then do I think a benevolent Monarchy will be desirable.

I am not a fan of pure democracy either . But I do favor representative elective government ;with the elected answerable to electorate ;with the established right of the electorate to change the provisions of a documented Constitution ; and a bill of rights established .

I am not a fan of tyranny of the majority anymore than a fan of tyranny of a minority;or anarchy ;or of an oligarchy ;a monarchy;a chrysocracy ,or a dictators stratocracy :all you get from these are a kleptocracy.

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Choux asked on 04/05/05 - What Should America

do to help out in third world countries that we aren't doing now?

Name a country(s) and explain in detail.

tomder55 answered on 04/06/05:

Lower barriers to their market goods. We would kill 2 birds with one stone there . help out 3rd world nations and at the same time stop the rediculous agricultural subsidies that people in this country get for NOT farming and ranching .

Share non-military technology information ;specially water purification .Feed a person a fish they have a meal .Teach a person to fish and they eat for a lifetime.

End restrictions imposed by environmentalists that are not effective like the DDT ban that has caused malaria epidemics around the world .

that for starters .

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HANK1 asked on 03/31/05 - TERRI IS DEAD!



tomder55 answered on 03/31/05:

I'm going to have problems justifying my critique of Iran being run by an unelected robed theocracy when we are evidently run by an unelected robed oligarchy.

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tonyrey asked on 02/19/05 - Do you believe in "collective guilt"?

......... Please elaborate..........

tomder55 answered on 02/21/05:

not really . I think in terms of responsibility.If I have done nothing wrong by action or inaction then how could I feel guilt ? Many Germans in the 30s and 40s did nothing, were unable to do anything, and were horrified about the actions their society was taking. I do not see them as guilty; I see them as victims.

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Choux asked on 02/03/05 - The Merchant of Venice

A new movie of Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice" is being released soon. There is virtually no uproar about how anti-Semitic this play is. Yet, when Mel Gibson's movie came out last year, there was a great uproar about how anti-Semitic the film was.

Am I to conclude that it is OK that Shakespeare wrote an ani-Semitic play? Did you know that Jews had been driven out of England 300 years prior to Shakespeare's time? Why the anti-Semitic attitudes in a "Jewless" country??

tomder55 answered on 02/05/05:

I don't know ;Shylock certainly is a caracticure of the sterotype . Shakespeare does provide a look inside the man and he seems to be lacking in faith.

More often than not he is not refered to by name but by some type of slander. Antonio's blatant anti-semitism takes away from other noble characteristic.Certainly he is bigoted .And Shylocks famous moment that the other experts have quoted reveals a thinking about the equality of all humans.I think the intent was to make him a tragic character ;not a villian.

Other works by Shakespeare do not give a hint of simular prejudices .Othello ;a dark skinned Moore was the noblest character in that play.

anyway ;a movie where the talents of Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons square off is worth the price of admission. I will be interested to see what modern interpretation they bring to the play.

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Dark_Crow asked on 01/17/05 - Next stop: Iran

"We've declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy," the official tells Hersh. "This is the last hurrah - we've got four years and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism."

Comments on the article?

tomder55 answered on 01/18/05:

Hersh is wrong ;Syria will be the next target .

"If the standard for being fired was being wrong on a story, I would have been fired long ago." Seymour Hersh

If we have been conducting "secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran "as Hersh claims then I say good for Bush ! Would everyone prefer that decisions be made without adequate intelligence information?

We have been in a shooting war with Iran since we entered Iraq . (in reality our war with them began in 1979 when they invaded U.S. territory [the U.S. Embassy in Tehran])To date that shooting war has been undeclared . Iranians have filtered terrorist into the country from the get-go.Iran's Revolutionary Guard helped fund Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr. The al- Sadr insurrection was Iran instigated; al- Sadr is an Iranian agent.

According to al Jazeera Iraq's Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan accused Iran and Syria of fueling the Iraqi resistance, branding Tehran in particular the "most dangerous enemy of Iraq".

"Iran is the most dangerous enemy of Iraq and all Arabs," Shaalan said. "The source of terrorism in Iraq is Iran."

"Terrorism is Iraq is orchestrated by Iranian intelligence, Syrian intelligence and Saddam (Hussein) loyalists, in collaboration with Zarqawi," Shaalan said.

"The financing and training of the terrorists comes from Syria and Iran," he added.

Iran is developing a nuclear capability . They say it is for peaceful purposes. Why am I skeptical of their claim ? But perhaps some snooping around would reveal their intentions one way or another .Bush realizes that a nuclear-armed Iran cannot be allowed.
To date we have relied on 3 nations of Europe doing the leg work on the diplomatic front. (The UN has been at it's usual useless best ).Iran has done everything it could to thwart efforts to delay their progress.

We know that Iran is the # 1 State sponsor of terrorism .They share calling the shots in the Iraq"insurection"with Baathist Nazis; They control Hezzbolla ;They harbor much of the remnants of al Qaeda.

As far as I am concerned there is ample reason the take a military posture against Iran . That being said; I agree with Russian Chairman of the Council of Foreign and Defense Policy, Sergei Karaganov when he says :American military action against Iran is possible, although unlikely. Quite evidently, the United States would prefer to avoid the use of military force, as this would seriously complicate the already strained situation in the Middle East and would fail to secure support from a considerable part of the international community, .

Well that is part of the reasom why. Obviously Iran would be a much more complicated affair than the Iraqi invasion turned out to be .It is bigger ,and has a better military presence. Not that it is not possible . As Hirsh points out a nuclear Iran run by the Mullahs would be out of the question and must be stopped by all means .

I agree with Chou that the democratic movement in Iran is alive and thriving .We would seriously risk undermining that effort by invading at this time. Two months ago there was significant moves by prominent Iranian dissidents and human rights activists. They called for the organization of a nationwide referendum to convene a constituent assembly and draft a new constitution.For the first time, this move has brought together leading Iranian figures of various political persuasions, as well as Iranian citizens who have been pressuring for change for a long time. . The number of people joining this movement is unprecedented.They may be able to achieve regime change faster than any invasion would. When they see Iraqis voting and drafting their own Constitution the pressure on the mullocracy will be unbearable.

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Dark_Crow asked on 01/06/05 - why the UN is in control?

Mr Annan and others held out the hope that the generosity shown towards the tsunami victims would herald a new era of international solidarity; but I cant help wonder why the UN is in control?

I guess the UN needs something to replace the Oil for Food scam

Comments or thoughts?

tomder55 answered on 01/10/05:

This of course has been a blessing in disquise for Kofi since it distracts attention from the other scandals on the disfunctional organization he runs.

The Diplomad again hits the nail on the head .(if all State Dept. apparatiks were like the Diplomad I'd probably think much better of State ).

This Embassy has been running 24/7 since the December 26 earthquake and tsunami. Along with my colleagues, I've spent the past several days dealing non-stop with various aspects of the relief effort in this tsunami-affected country. That work, unfortunately, has brought ever-increasing contact with the growing UN presence in this capital; in fact, we've found that to avoid running into the UN, we must go out to where the quake and tsunami actually hit.

As we come up on two weeks since the disaster struck, the UN is still not to be seen where it counts -- except when holding well-staged press events. Ah, yes, but the luxury hotels are full of UN assessment teams and visiting big shots from New York, Geneva, and Vienna. The city sees a steady procession of UN Mercedes sedans and top-of-the-line SUV's -- a fully decked out Toyota Landcruiser is the UN vehicle of choice; it doesn't seem that concerns about "global warming" and preserving your tax dollars run too deep among the UNocrats.

Sitting VERY late for two consecutive nights in interminable meetings with UN reps, hearing them go on about "taking the lead coordination role," pledges, and the impending arrival of this or that UN big shot or assessment/coordination team, for the millionth time I realized that if not for Australia and America almost nobody in the tsunami-affected areas would have survived more than a few days. If we had waited for the UNocrats to get their act coordinated, the already massive death toll would have become astronomical. But, fortunately, thanks to "retrograde racist war-mongers " such as John Howard and George W. Bush, as we sat in air conditioned meeting rooms with these UNocrats, young Australians and Americans were at that moment "coordinating" without the UN and saving the lives of tens-of-thousands of people.

Seeing these UNocrats perched at the table, whispering to each other, back-slapping, shaking hands, they seemed like a periodic reunion of old cynical Mafia chieftains or mercenaries who run into each other in different hot spots, as they move from one slaughter to another, "How are you? Haven't seen you since Bosnia . . .." As the hours wore on, however, and I nervously doodled in my note pad, shifted in my chair, looked at my watch, and thought about all the real work I had to do that evening, I decided that, no, labeling them mafiosos or mercenaries was much too kind. They seemed more to be the progeny resulting from a mating between a mad oracle and a giant carrion-eater. They were akin to some sort of ancient mythical Greco-Roman-Aztec-Wes Craven-Egyptian-bird-god that demands constant sacrifice and feeding, and speaks in riddles which only it can solve. Yes, I decided, the UNocrats are great hideous vultures, roused from their caves in the European Alps and in the cement canyons and peaks of Manhattan by the stench of death in the Turd World. They leisurely take flight toward the smell of death; circle, and then swoop down, screeching UNintelligble nonsense. They arrive and immediately force others, e.g., the American tax payer, to build them new exclusive nests in the midst of poverty, and make themselves fat on the flesh of the dead. My friends, allow The Diplomad to present to you The High Priest Vulture Elite (HPVE).

At an emergency summit in Jakarta Annan said that about 1 billion dollars was required now to implement specific programs to deal with the catastrophe.By agreeement the U.N. has disolved the core group of 4 nations that was leading the relief effort(whatever that means ) and yesterday assumed the role of coordinating relief work .That is the bad news .The good news is that donar nations will control where their funds are directed .The U.N. has come under criticism in the region for it's lack of ability to do anything.

"If we wait for the UN to tell us what to do, we wouldn't do anything," said Abdul Hadi bin e Rashid, first admiral of the Malaysian navy at the country's operations tent at Banda Aceh airport."There are people who are hungry and angry. Why wait? So we just do it."

Representatives of aid groups said the lack of co-ordination by the UN has led to some aid missions being duplicated. Many drew attention to the fact that the UN has no staff at Banda Aceh airport, which is the focal point for the relief response.

Michael Elmquist, head of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance in Indonesia , admitted the UN's response had encountered difficulties, but added it was poised to accelerate rapidly."Mr Elmquist attributed the delays to five key factors: the sheer destruction and number of people killed, including three of the UN's nine local staff; lack of telecommunications in the early days; a lack of truck drivers and fuel; the obliteration of the local government; and Aceh's troubled history."But he failed to mention the biggest reason; sheer U.N. incompetence !

Congress approved a measure that would allow private donations for tsunami relief made this month to be tax deductible in 2004 .I think Congress should authorize that a significant part ;if not all of our commitment to the releif effort be diverted from direct UN distribution to organizations like World Vision which has a long track record of getting things done in the region .World Vision carefully monitors and reviews programs and costs, uses donations and grants for their intended purposes, and looks for ways to leverage funds. World Vision strives to keep its overhead rate low. Last year, 87 percent of the total revenue directly benefited children and families in need.

Uggghh .The faxes at the Swiss banks where the UN funnels it's theft must be running out of paper by now.

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tonyrey asked on 01/03/05 - What is the significance of life on earth?

If you knew that all life on earth would be destroyed in 2005 how would your beliefs and values be affected?

tomder55 answered on 01/03/05:

until it is proven otherwise ,life on earth is a unique experience . we have only taken baby steps in the path of finding an alternate place to inhabit so it would be safe to assume that what you see is what you get . the rest becomes a matter of faith . if you believe that life goes on after the physicial body ceases then there are still consequences for the actions we take.

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Dark_Crow asked on 12/30/04 - Is the human era coming to an end?

It has been said that within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.
Is such progress avoidable? If not to be avoided, can events be guided so that we may survive as the same species?

tomder55 answered on 12/30/04:

could be ;nano-technology could spell our doom. wouldn't that be ironic ? the ultimate merge of Religion ;Darwinism .We create our replacement.

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Dark_Crow asked on 11/29/04 - Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.
Im not a religious person; that is, I am not inclined to believe the various accounts I have heard as regards the attributes of any god; nor do I however deny the possibility of a creator with a plan.
That said; just where is the above kind of behavior going to lead and, is this going too far?

tomder55 answered on 12/07/04:

It wasn't just the declaration but also the diaries of George Washington and John Adams, the writings of William Penn, and various state constitutions.The State Education code allows for "references to religion or references to or the use of religious literature when such references or uses do not constitute instruction in religious principles and when such references or uses are incidental to or illustrative of matters properly included in the course of study." (Califorina Education Code 51511 ).The school district did this on it's own . Contrary to some of the experts; I think the school district will win because the case will eventually be heard by the wacky 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals .

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ttalady asked on 09/20/04 - Another man's head taken

What does it take for you men to fess up to the plate? How many heads does it take to realize that any fool-os-i-pher anit gonna fix it?

You sit there with your books, your thoughts,your dreams. When you finally get a clue don't be knocking on my door for a gun.

The best lesson in life if "Survival of the fittest". Mark my words!

Love ya,

Best wishes,


tomder55 answered on 09/21/04:

"Never leave an enemy standing."
Shaka Zulu, King of the Zulu Nation

An unwillingness to deal forcibly with violence does not equate to moral rectitude."
Mary Malmros

"Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay it's price."
Sun Tsu

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Jon1667 asked on 09/07/04 - Commentary from The New York Times

This piece by David Brooks is so apt and pointed that I wanted to give it the currency it deserves: Those especially who still want to avert their eyes, for whatever reasons, should give the article their special attention:

Cult of Death

e've been forced to witness the massacre of innocents. In New York, Madrid, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Baghdad and Bali, we have seen thousands of people destroyed while going about the daily activities of life.

We've been forced to endure the massacre of children. Whether it's teenagers outside an Israeli disco or students in Beslan, Russia, we've seen kids singled out as special targets.

We should by now have become used to the death cult that is thriving at the fringes of the Muslim world. This is the cult of people who are proud to declare, "You love life, but we love death." This is the cult that sent waves of defenseless children to be mowed down on the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war, that trains kindergartners to become bombs, that fetishizes death, that sends people off joyfully to commit mass murder.

This cult attaches itself to a political cause but parasitically strangles it. The death cult has strangled the dream of a Palestinian state. The suicide bombers have not brought peace to Palestine; they've brought reprisals. The car bombers are not pushing the U.S. out of Iraq; they're forcing us to stay longer. The death cult is now strangling the Chechen cause, and will bring not independence but blood.

But that's the idea. Because the death cult is not really about the cause it purports to serve. It's about the sheer pleasure of killing and dying.

It's about massacring people while in a state of spiritual loftiness. It's about experiencing the total freedom of barbarism - freedom even from human nature, which says, Love children, and Love life. It's about the joy of sadism and suicide.

We should be used to this pathological mass movement by now. We should be able to talk about such things. Yet when you look at the Western reaction to the Beslan massacres, you see people quick to divert their attention away from the core horror of this act, as if to say: We don't want to stare into this abyss. We don't want to acknowledge those parts of human nature that were on display in Beslan. Something here, if thought about too deeply, undermines the categories we use to live our lives, undermines our faith in the essential goodness of human beings.

Three years after Sept. 11, too many people have become experts at averting their eyes. If you look at the editorials and public pronouncements made in response to Beslan, you see that they glide over the perpetrators of this act and search for more conventional, more easily comprehensible targets for their rage.

The Boston Globe editorial, which was typical of the American journalistic response, made two quick references to the barbarity of the terrorists, but then quickly veered off with long passages condemning Putin and various Russian policy errors.

The Dutch foreign minister, Bernard Bot, speaking on behalf of the European Union, declared: "All countries in the world need to work together to prevent tragedies like this. But we also would like to know from the Russian authorities how this tragedy could have happened."

It wasn't a tragedy. It was a carefully planned mass murder operation. And it wasn't Russian authorities who stuffed basketball nets with explosives and shot children in the back as they tried to run away.

Whatever horrors the Russians have perpetrated upon the Chechens, whatever their ineptitude in responding to the attack, the essential nature of this act was in the act itself. It was the fact that a team of human beings could go into a school, live with hundreds of children for a few days, look them in the eyes and hear their cries, and then blow them up.

Dissertations will be written about the euphemisms the media used to describe these murderers. They were called "separatists" and "hostage-takers." Three years after Sept. 11, many are still apparently unable to talk about this evil. They still try to rationalize terror. What drives the terrorists to do this? What are they trying to achieve?

They're still victims of the delusion that Paul Berman diagnosed after Sept. 11: "It was the belief that, in the modern world, even the enemies of reason cannot be the enemies of reason. Even the unreasonable must be, in some fashion, reasonable."

This death cult has no reason and is beyond negotiation. This is what makes it so frightening. This is what causes so many to engage in a sort of mental diversion. They don't want to confront this horror. So they rush off in search of more comprehensible things to hate.

tomder55 answered on 09/07/04:

10 of the kidnappers were Arab nationals .

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, last night refused to order a public inquiry into how the Beslan school was captured by gunmen and then ended with such a high death toll, and told the Guardian that people who call for talks with Chechen leaders have no conscience.
"Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace? Why don't you do that?" he said with searing sarcasm.

"You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child killers?

"No one has a moral right to tell us to talk to child killers," he added.

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but Margaret Thatcher, whom I've met more than once said: 'A man who comes out into the street to kill other people must himself be killed'," he told the Guardian.,2763,1298905,00.html

Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev could give a damn about nationalist interests or independence from Russia.He wants an Islamic Emirate across the Caucasus. This is what is in common with most of the terrorism around the world . Any other secondary justifaction that they may use pales when examined in the light of this common goal. The concept of a war on terrorism is too abstract ;It is time to call it by it's name ;Islamo-fascism .

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Jon1967 asked on 08/10/04 - UN Monitoring of US Elections!?
United Nations monitoring of United States Election

Apparently a passel of Democrats has demanded that the United Nations send a delegation to monitor the November elections in the United States, and Colin Powell has concurred! So we are going to get monitoring by the UN of the United States.

Lewis Carroll could not have conceived anything more absurd than this. How would those people recognize a free election if it bit them on the leg?

tomder55 answered on 08/11/04:

Actually it is not the U.N. but the 'Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe' (OSCE)of which we are members . They used to just monitor 3rd world nations but recently they have been self auditing so to speak.

I ,like you would be very opposed to a U.N. monitoring system .Although I do not like this nor am I inclined to believe that we need it ;I can accept it from this group .

We have free elections in spite of the almost incoherent rants of the extreme Michael Moore types . No voter in the world is more informed and has more alternative means on getting information than here .We can go to network news,cable news ,intenet access ,talk shows on television and radio that freely provide commentary ,and CSPAN which pretty much gives unfiltered access to the candidates on the trail.

But we are not perfect .As Choux pointed out ,there have always been concerns about our system as free as it is . Daley's Chicago and Jeb Bush's Florida prove that these concerns go beyond a particular party . As long as there is the perception of inequity in our system then it is our obligation to either correct it or to debunk it as a misconception.

The decision right or wrong has been praised by the President . They have decided to monitor the nation that has possibly the free-ist ,most transparent electoral system .Lets show them how it's done.

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Jon1967 asked on 08/10/04 - Sha'ria (Islamic Law) and Human Rights

Worth reading and thinking about.

tomder55 answered on 08/10/04:

It should be mandatory reading . What other modern religion's prophet and founder is a conqueror ; first and foremost a warrior ? Jesus,Moses,Buddha,certainly were not .They were men of peace. Mohammed planned and led 26 expeditions of conquest himself.

The goal of the jihadists is plain . Bring the world under the control of Islam. Either we will embrace the faith or enter into dhimmitude.

other sites worth perusing :

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Chouxxx asked on 08/08/04 - Demographics

Russia's population is dropping at th rate of 900,000 a year, due toits low birth rate, low life expectancy, and emigration. If current demographic trends hold, by 2050 Russia will have a smaller population than Yemen.

What problems or plus' do you see coming from this statistic?

tomder55 answered on 08/10/04:

I think the Chinese will exploit this trend . There are large areas of Siberia with natural resources up the kazoo ,and not enough people to work them .

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HANK1 asked on 07/13/04 - SALVATION!

If life after death cannot be proved scientifically, is it then intellectually irresponsible to accept it?


tomder55 answered on 07/14/04:

There is no reason at all to reject the possibility that each of us has some kind of permanent consciousness. I have yet to see the 'scientific proof of that assertion.

What good is it to be a unique human being if at your death you cease to exist? If you do not continue to exist in some form after death, what good are all the experiences, decisions, triumphs, defeats, all the moments of your life? If you do not survive the grave, then nothing in fact does matter. If each death means the end of the individual, then we are all faced with an endless cycle of creation and destruction, the meaning of which, if any, is beyond comprehension. If each of us ceases to be, then your life has no meaning and your choices make no difference.Death therefore is nothing to fear as the consequences of your actions are of no significance.

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HANK1 asked on 06/22/04 - GNOSTICISM!

Even though most Gnostic scriptures take the forms of myths, what are your views re: GNOSTICISM?


tomder55 answered on 06/23/04:

Gnosticism rejects Jewish theology about the goodness of creation, it demands that you reject everything to do with this world as flawed and evil. The universe, as presently constituted, is not good, nor was it created by an all-good God. A lesser god, or demiurge which was flawed itself fashioned the world. The Gospel of Philip(Discovered among the Nag Hammadi Library in 1945 ) says that "the world came about through a mistake. For he who created it wanted to create it imperishable and immortal. He fell short of attaining his desire." Evidently ,the greater God spewed out all these lesser Gods ,and sits back undetached watching them do their deeds .The result was a material cosmos soaked with ignorance, pain, decay, and death .The demiurge screwed it up . This deity, nevertheless, despotically demands worship and even pretentiously proclaims his supremacy as the one true God.

To add to this 'myth',the flawed demiurge has no hope as it is a degeneration of the fullness of Being (or pleroma). But , human beings are in the position potentially to transcend their imposed limitations.

So if you believe that the universe was not created by an all knowing ;all loving ,the one supreme God ,then Gnosticism is an alternative.All in all ;I'd rather read about Zeus.

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ttalady asked on 06/02/04 - Just a thought I have been.....

pondering over. Thanks to my better half! LOL!

We were on the discussion of our local coyotes. During the past couple of winters we have been having issues with some local hunters that hunt coyotes around our hill area. Him being a hunter himself, never coyotes, and myself enjoying hunting , never deer. We noticed a decline in the deer/turkey population in the past couple of years. Both of us BIG TIME nature lovers and like to think of ourselves as living off of the many God's gifts. It has been upsetting to us the lack of wild life that we have been seeing the past two or so years and have been really working hard on what the issue may be. Our conclusion is that of the coyote hunters. Yes there are others that hunt many if not all of the game here on our hill however these coyote hunters do not hunt, they INVADE! They come out when all is done and said for with the deer months, prior to the turkeys and small game, and worst of all when all of natures creatures are suppose to be having quiet time. Yes, the dead of winter. These hunters bring their yelping, half starved dogs, four wheelers, snowmoblies, and worst of all a pack of men to circle the hill. The scene almost reminds me of the one in the movie "Bambi" when the forest fire is coming. Everything ships out.

Coyotes are pack animals. They have the alpha male whom is the boss of all. Once that alpha male is killed or dies the competition for alpha male is up for grabs. Not only to the ones in a pack but as well neighboring males will come to try and claim a pack. Other packs as well are known to move in on claimed territory. They have been known to eat the other packs young, kill off ones that show agression to their moving in. Packs that are invaded are also known to split and loose the power they once had over their territory. IN ALL TOTAL CHAIOUS!

As I know this is a part of nature, I also believe this is how terrorist work. I can not imagine the studies that must have gone on and continue to go on regarding radical groups. I would put a leader of such a radical group in the same shoes as the coyote hunter. The one or one's that start the chaious and disorganization. The coyote hunter invades, brings all that is quiet to a situation of un-knowing. As a terrorist leader. The hope for the split, the split in a pack so that ones from that alpha male can move in and take over. As in Al Queda's only goal is to take over and make all Muslim. To kill the weak, the young, to kill the men, the agressors, and to ultimately enslave the women or weak as their own.

Many like to consider this war a war of the religions however I seem to see it different. Since the day of life this war has gone on if not with the human race, with nature. I find that nature has much more cooth than the human race being natures only reason for such is survival. As where the human race is nothing short of greed with such matters. Then again could it be that our survival as mankind is much more on a wider plain than that of a simple coyote?

There will surely be a day when many will wish they had thought so simply about life and less about "who's to blame" for it! Our greatest friend and teacher is nature!

Any thoughts?


tomder55 answered on 06/03/04:

I like it . That would be the strategy ,to disrupt civilization ,and chip away at it's foundations .In one of Tom Clancy's novels he describes a scene .A lion is trying to protect it's kill from a pack of hyenas .They circled the lion ,and when his jewels were exposed ,they nip at them . The lion was able to fend them off for a while ,but at considerable discomfort .Eventually the lion retreated and surrendered his kill to the hyenas.So maybe the terrorists are emulating nature more than you think .

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XCHOUX asked on 05/27/04 - Why Why Why?

Why do you want to survive after death? No one answers my question when I ask it.

Please, all who frequent this board, why do you want to live on after death? What about those who don't want to live on after death? Those with backbone, step up and deliver.....

tomder55 answered on 05/28/04:

simple . I think that there will be some answers . I spend my whole life posting questions that humans are incapable of answering ,perhaps the answers await in the after life . Another reason is I want to slip the surely bonds of Earth ,and go places that I can only imagine . Finally ,I think of my physical reality as a temporary vessel for my spirit . I may be wrong ,but without a dream ,sleep is a boring existance .

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HANK1 asked on 05/25/04 - TO MY FRIENDS:

Negligence is sinful activity that encompasses the actions of the responsible, the careful, the prudent, the reasonable. So, LET'S PLAY BALL! I'm stayin'!

"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes; and those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country, these two parties exist; and in every one where they are free to think, speak and write, they will declare themselves." - Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Henry Lee dated August 10, 1824.

Jefferson also relates, "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."

We now have rationalistic methods and skepticism about established dogmas, my friends. Let's make HONESTY a pleasure and a virtue that requires moral and ethical understanding. As I said, LET'S PLAY BALL!

* Thanks for the great support, guys!


tomder55 answered on 05/25/04:

face it ;your a lifer like me .

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tonyrey asked on 05/25/04 - How probable is life after death?


tomder55 answered on 05/25/04:

If based on scientific evidence then the answer is that there is not much of a chance of it occuring .If you go by the centuries of lore /legend/testimonial /faith that millions of people experience and share ,then the probabilities improve dramatically . An after life ,and a purpose to existance is a cornerstone of my faith. I like the 'what if you are wrong ' argument. If I am wrong,then I still have led a good life,I can feel good about myself and then I'm fertilizer anyway.If I'm right;I've probably covered my ass.

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XCHOUX asked on 05/24/04 - What We Face In America

An Alabama group called Concerned Christians for Education Reform is lobbying to have the whale reclassified as a fish rather than a mammal because that's what the animal is called in the biblical story of Jonah. "The Bible is God's own words," said a spokesman. "If the Lord says the whale is a 'great fish,' it's a fish, Period."


tomder55 answered on 05/25/04:

By the title of this posting ,I hope you are not implying that this constitues aome geat threat to America.The best way to expose extremist is to ridicule them .To paraphrase Mel Brooks "If you stand on a soapbox and trade rhetoric with {them}you never win," "But if you ridicule them, bring them down with laughterthey can't win. You show how crazy they are."

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XCHOUX asked on 05/11/04 - As Long As YOu Tell A Lie

long enough. people will believe it.

Do you think that this is generally true?

tomder55 answered on 05/12/04:

true ;people will believe lies even when confronted with solid evidence to the contrary. the good news is there are always enough skeptics even in a totalitarian state to eventually expose a lie for what it is .

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XCHOUX asked on 05/01/04 - Ethical Concern

Why can't the CIA just kill off a whole bunch of Islamo-Nazi clerics; they are the ones directing the war againg civilization, the Jews and America?? One at a time, say one per week. I am so disgusted by their plan for world domination.

Since they declared war on America, don't we have a duty to destroy them and their barbarity(I've listed the barbarity here before many times, no more) '


tomder55 answered on 05/03/04:

that works for me . of course Americans were charged with incivility during the American Revolution for targetting officers instead of rank and file soldiers. But why not target the ones who incite ? Heres is a simple guideline. If a cleric like lets say the Pope calls for peace ,he is safe .Now lets say instead that they tell the flock that strapping on bomb belts and setting them off in a pizza parlor will get you a concubine in the eather world ......... well let him lead them their himself .

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chekhovToo asked on 04/29/04 - Treatment of POWs and Ethical Implications

What are the ethical implications of the U.S. military allegedly torturing and abusing Iraqi POWs/detainees?

tomder55 answered on 04/30/04:

The soldiers involved will face trial and most likely imprisonment . I read them making some kind of lame excuses that they were not properly trained on the correct treatment of POWs . That may or may not be true . If it is ,then their superior officers deserve reprimand also . If the troops were ill prepared for the duty ,then they should not have been put into the position they were in. But I do not believe them.

It is a terrible black eye to the U.S. to have this kind of conduct while the President is making a case that we liberated them in part to free them from Saddam's torture chambers .

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XCHOUX asked on 04/24/04 - Arafat Preparing for his Death

News story. Arafat is preparing for his death since Sharon said that he is no longer bound by an agreement with the US not to kill him.


tomder55 answered on 04/26/04:

Sharon is not stupid . Arafat will not be killed. He is irrelevent anyway . The terrorist organizations of Hamas ,Islamic Jihad ,and a couple of others are running the show in Palestine now .
It pleases me to no end to hear reports that Arafat lies awake at night worrying about it .He above all others is directly responsible for the miserable living conditions of the Palestinian people.

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tonyrey asked on 04/24/04 - How can the Middle East conflict be resolved?


tomder55 answered on 04/26/04:

I assume you mean the Palestine/Israel conflict? That will end when either side capitulates .

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XCHOUX asked on 04/25/04 - George W Bush has got to go...

Bush has got to go as President of the United States. In the press converence with Tony Blair last week, he called on God Almighty, and then, looked like more of an idiot than he usually does.

Granted he is only the SpokesModel for the Administration of Vice-President Cheney, and we knew that from the beginning, but his blatant attempts to tie his administration to GodAlmighty Christianity(is he Christ or the anti-Christ in his own mind?)is OFFENSIVE! It's illegal!

Do you think Bush has to go?

tomder55 answered on 04/26/04:

I don't have a problem with criticizing George W. Bush. But can we please stop pretending that Bush's regular invocations of the Almighty make him some sort of strange religious fanatic? In how he speaks of God, Bush is much more typically presidential than he is painted.

"The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity. We Americans have faith in ourselves, but not in ourselves alone. We do not claim to know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life and all of history. May He guide us now, and may God continue to bless the United States of America." Bush State of the Union

Bush's assertion that liberty comes from the hand of God is as American as the Declaration of Independence, written by a skeptical deist.

other Presidents who have used God of the Bible 'utterances '

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible" --George Washington

"So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society..." --John Quincy Adams

"That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests" --Andrew Jackson

"I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong" --Abraham Lincoln

"It is the duty of nations as well as men to recognize the truth announced in Holy Scripture and proven by all of history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord." Lincoln

"Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties. Write its precepts in your hearts, and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book are we indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future. Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a 2 reproach to any people" --Ulysses S. Grant

"If you take out of your statutes, your constitution, your family life all that is taken from the Sacred Book, what would there be left to bind society together?" --Benjamin Harrison

"Almost every man who has by his life-work added to the sum of human achievement of which the race is proud, of which our people are proud, almost every such man has based his life-work largely upon the teachings of the Bible" --Theodore Roosevelt

"We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government ... not in the Constitution... (but) upon the capacity of each and every one of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments" --James Madison

"Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it temporal punishments or burdens...are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion. No men shall...suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the Book of Life than that these people are to be free.
The precepts of philosophy and of the Hebrew code, laid hold of actions only. Jesus pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man, erected his tribunal in the regions of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head." Thomas Jefferson

"A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.....The Bible is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God, and spiritual nature and needs of men. It is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation. America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture."Woodrow Wilson

"We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. Where we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity." Franklin Roosevelt

"The fundamental basis of this nation's laws was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew, from Isaiah and Saint Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don't have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State!"Harry Truman

"The spirit of man is more important than mere physical strength, and the spiritual fiber of a nation than its wealth. The Bible is endorsed by the ages. Our civilization is built upon its words. In no other book is there such a collection of inspired wisdom, reality, and hope."Dwight Eisenhower

bunch a idiots !

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AhmadBalkhi asked on 04/13/04 - predistiny or will

I am writing a paper on the following philosophical topic:

There are two (or more) systems of beliefs. One claim that all humans have a predistiny. That is, everything we do or whatever we are is determined by a God before our creation. The other belief or philosophy asserts that humans must strive to be or become good. Otherwise, according to this group, justice would be injustice. For instance, if god created a criminal to be a criminal, then it would be injust to put him in hell or it would be injust to put him in prison. In fact, there should not be any hell or heaven. Everything is determined by god, himself (or herself). There shouldn't also be any hospital or police stations or prisons and etc. If a person is to die, he/she will die. If he/she commits a crime, he/she is determined to do it, and therefore, not guilty.

I need some ideas for this topic. Also, if you could tell me what are the names for this two schools of philosophy.

I appreciate your help. Thanks!

tomder55 answered on 04/14/04:

You could reference the Bible depiction of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas .
Jesus foretold that Judas would be his betrayer ,and yet it was still the choice of Judas to act on it ;or was it ?

According Matthew 26:20, during the course of the Passover supper, Christ informed the disciples that one of them would betray him. Each of them began to question Is it I, Lord? Judas then asked . Is it I, Rabbi? Jesus responded You have said so .He had already bargained with the chief priests to deliver Christ unto them (Mt. 26:14-16) One must thus conclude that his question was insincere.

But what did the apostle mean when he stated that Judas perished that the scripture might be fulfilled (Jn. 17:12)Jesusknew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was that should betray him (Jn. 6:64).

Is I cant help what I do; I was predestined to do it, a false notion? Yes. It is too often readily accepted in a modern world that seeks to escape from personal responsibility. But it is a cop out.

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tonyrey asked on 04/04/04 - To what extent are we controlled by machines?


tomder55 answered on 04/05/04:

as long as there is an on /off switch ,then we control machines.

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XCHOUX asked on 03/31/04 - Politics

This morning, I was wondering about ethics in government. Assuming that there is such a thing which is what I want to get opinions about.

As an example... the terror hearing going on currently that Condi Rice is going to testify before, under oath.

Does the President and his people have the right to lie to Congress and the American people about how decisions are made and how they get their facts. Do they have to tell for example, that they developed a plan to put America into a middle east country in an attempt to stabilize that country and then the region which produces an army of terrorists.

I don't know if that was the plan just giving an example.

This book by Richard Clark surprised me. Are his allegations true?

tomder55 answered on 04/01/04:

lets see . Clarke says Condi Rice didn't know what al-qaeda was before he told her ...Credible? ..not when it later gets revealed that she made speeches about the threat of al qaeda prior to 9-11. The White House released several hours of the tapes of Clarke praising Bush and deriding Clinton for inaction . Not only that ,Clarke in testimony admitted to the 9-11 Commission that he lied in 2002 testimony that is contradictory to his latest testimony .He told the commission to disregard what he said in his 2002 briefing because he was, in effect, spinning. "I've done it for several presidents".Clarke is clearly an angry man, angry that Condoleezza Rice demoted him,and that he was denied a coveted bureaucratic job by the Bush administration.(as a side note ;Clarke last night on Hardball would not deny that a movie is to be made about him).

ok ,to the government. No they should be chastized and probably removed from office if it is proven they lied. I agreed with the Adminstration however that he should be able to consult with his closest non-Congressionally approved aides without them being subject to sworn testimony any time Congress feels like hauling them to the hill . As much as I am looking forward to seeing Condi dish out some whup-ass ,I think it is a mistake to have her subject to it .Some topics are open for discussion and debate ,some are advice ,ultimately the President is responsible for his own decisions . It doesn't serve the nation to say "well Bush made the call but it was against the advice of Rice or maybe Powell ".
We all know what course of action that was taken after 9-11 .

Before 9-11 ? Well I am involved on and off in local government. I can tell you that policy formulating under normal circumstances is a slow ponderous process. Emergencies are different ,you act accordingly .It is plausable to me that Bush's team adopted the policies about terrorism that they were handed in the first few months while they were considering other options . They had less than 8 months before 9-11.They were also dealing with more pressing International matters . The Chinese forced down a spy plane in April 2001,and tensions with China dominated the spring .
It is also speculated by some that Bush was trying to engage with the Taliban ,for the purpose of evicting bin Laden ,as well as renewing negotiations on a trans-Afghanistan oil pipe-line .(typically a pre-9-11 way to deal with rogue nations .Clinton's politicking with Sudan got bin Laden evicted from there also).

Anyway to make a long story short; when all is said and done a conclusion will be that everyone acted in a normal and typical way before 9-11 ,then a new paradgym emerged .

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Dark_Crow asked on 03/31/04 - Justification for war with Iraq

To me, the liberation of 25 million Iraqis remains sufficient justification, which is why I don't think the failure to find weapons of mass destruction by itself, invalidates the case for war (though it certainly weakens it).
The real reason for this war (in Iraq)which was never statedwas to roll back the wave of "terrorism," which had built up during the 1990s and was continuing. Before the war, no one could know what kind of political psychology we would find once the hold of Saddam's tyranny was broken. It was, and is quite clear that totalitarianism in this new Muslim version is not going to stop at slaughtering millions of Muslims, hundreds of Israelis, and attacking the Indian government, and blowing up American embassies. Scan the horizon now and it is abundantly clear the wave continues.

tomder55 answered on 04/01/04:

I do not know why the case is not being made about Saddam's links to 9-11 . They are pretty convincing to me .

Why did the Bush administration immediately suspect that Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks when there was no evidence of any connection, as Richard Clarke and other Bush critics maintain? Maybe it was because there was indeed evidence ; very dramatic evidence, in fact ,in the form of warnings in the state-run Iraqi press that such an attack was coming, along with praise for Osama bin Laden and his kamikaze hijackers in the days after the World Trade Center was destroyed.

On July 21, 2001, less than two months before 9/11, the state-controlled Iraqi newspaper Al-Nasiriya carried a column headlined "America, An Obsession Called Osama Bin Ladin." In the piece, Baath Party writer Naeem Abd Muhalhal predicted that bin Laden would attack the U.S. "with the seriousness of the Bedouin of the desert about the way he will try to bomb the Pentagon after he destroys the White House." (submitted as evidence by the victims families law suit against Iraq)
The same state-approved column also insisted that bin Laden "will strike America on the arm that is already hurting," and that the U.S. "will curse the memory of Frank Sinatra every time he hears his songs" - an apparent reference to the Sinatra classic "New York, New York." (Two 9/11 families were awarded over $100 million last May by U.S. District Court Judge Harold Baer based on this and other evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11.)

Saddam's threats of a 9/11 style attack before 9/11 weren't limited to that single report. In 1992, his son Uday used an editorial in Babil, the newspaper he ran, to warn of Iraqi kamikaze attacks inside America, saying, "Does the United States realize the meaning of every Iraqi becoming a missile that can cross countries and cities?"

Then in the late 1990s, according to UPI, "a cable to Saddam from the chief of Iraqi intelligence was transmitted by Baghdad Radio. The message read, 'We will chase [Americans] to every corner at all times. No high tower of steel will protect them against the fire of truth.'" (

After the 9/11 attacks, Saddam became the only world leader to offer praise for bin Laden, even as other terrorist leaders such as Yasser Arafat went out of their way to make a show of sympathy to the U.S. by donating blood to 9/11 victims on camera.
The day after the attacks, in quotes picked up by Agence France-Press, Saddam proclaimed that "America is reaping the thorns planted by its rulers in the world." (

The discovery of a document that directly links Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks, with the Baghdad training camp of Abu Nidal, the infamous Palestinian terrorist, appears to be the smoking gun.Prior to the discovery of the document published in the Telegraph UK, the most controversial report related to the suggestion that Atta had met Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, in Prague in April 2001.This meeting has been questioned by the U.S. intelligence people .However, the detail provided in the intelligence document uncovered by Iraq's interim government suggests that Atta's involvement with Iraqi intelligence may well have been far deeper than has been acknowledged.

Written by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service the personal memo to Saddam is signed by Habbush .Headed "Intelligence Items", and dated July 1, 2001;The first paragraph states that "Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian national, came with Abu Ammer and we hosted him in Abu Nidal's house at al-Dora under our direct supervision."We arranged a work programme for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him . . . He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy."
There is nothing in the document that provides any clue to the identity of the "targets", although Iraqi officials say it is a coded reference to the September 11 attacks.Iraqi officials working for the interim government are convinced of its authenticity.
"There are people who are working with us who used to work with Habbush who are convinced that it is his handwriting and signature. We are uncovering evidence all the time of Saddam's dealings with al-Qaeda, and this document shows the extent of the old regime's involvement with the international terrorist network."

Certainly the memo's detail concerning Mohammed Atta and Abu Nidal fits in with the known movements of the two terrorists in the summer of 2001. Abu Nidal, the Palestinian terrorist was based in Baghdad, under Saddam's personal protection, for most of his career.Saddam wanted Abu Nidal to revive his network of "sleeper cells" in Europe and the Middle East to carry out a new wave of attacks. During 2001 Abu Nidal lived in a number of houses in the Baghdad area, including the house where he met Atta.
The relationship between Abu Nidal and Saddam, however, quickly turned sour, mainly because Nidal was reluctant to accede to Saddam's request to train al-Qaeda fighters in sophisticated terrorist techniques.Abu Nidal was murdered in August 2001, although the Iraqis tried to claim that he had committed suicide. Habbush appeared at a hastily arranged press conference in Baghdad in an attempt to persuade the sceptical Arab media that Abu Nidal had taken his own life after Iraqi investigators had uncovered a plot to assassinate Saddam.

Then there is Salman Pak. For the sake of berevity ,Ill provide a link about Saddams hijacking training camp.

Salman Pak terrorist highjacking training camp in Iraq

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XCHOUX asked on 03/27/04 - Jacques Verges,

French lawyer who had defended terrorists in the past, told France Inter-Radio that he received a letter from Saddam Hussein's family requesting he defend Saddam against "alleged crimes against th Iraqi people". Saddam is held by US Forces at an undisclosed location.

I wonder what kind of defence he will mount? Is there going to be a jury?

tomder55 answered on 03/28/04:

This French lawyers revels in defending homicidal mass murderers . He defended Claus Barbie,and Slobodan Milosevic. Saddam is in good company with Verges.

I do not know what defense because I do not know under who's laws ,and what crimes he will be charged with . Verges will probably use the former-buddie of the U.S. defense.That will be a deflection because ultimately who his friends are is meaninless when someone is putting his live victims into wood chippers.

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XCHOUX asked on 03/27/04 - In Kuwait

A leading clergyman in Kuwait want to show "The Passion.." by Mel Gibson because it shows the Jews cruelty to Jesus. And so, we have this movie as propaganda to incite ignorant Muslims.

tomder55 answered on 03/28/04:

only those with hatred in their heart would find the movie anti-semetic. It doesn't suprise me one bit that a Muslim cleric would sermonize hatred and use the movie as an example. They try to show a kindred with Christianity by doing so that isn't there .

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Jon1667 asked on 03/24/04 - Charming

I wonder what excuses will be made for this charming clip.

tomder55 answered on 03/25/04:

Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris latest sermon :

typical diatribe

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Jon1667 asked on 03/24/04 - Charming

I wonder what excuses will be made for this charming clip.

tomder55 answered on 03/25/04:

typical diatribe

Dark_Crow asked on 03/23/04 - Best Strategy in the War on Terrorism?

What should have been done?
By way of a less clouded retrospect it would be wrong to say I am enthralled by the course of action Congress has taken on this War on Terrorism. Most fingers point to Bush and his administration as the ones who have caused this great tactical mistake with Iraq but; that is just what most in Congress would have us believe?
First I would like to point out that Congress could have, and should have stopped this War in Afghanistan. I wonder; did Congress watch too many Reagan Westerns? It is a mistake to say to an adversary, here I come, and especially shout it to the world. 9/11 came along and reason flew out the window, not with just Bush, but with most Politicians.
the wise course of action, in my opinion, would have been to continue our foreign policy of funding and training local dissidents to bring down the governments deemed a threat to us. At the same time sending (clandestine) Special Forces to seek out and destroy the Terrorist.

One of my early lessons was that when dealing with an adversary, equal or slightly greater force must be returned for each action. It was, and is a great mistake to continue this war in the manner it is being fought.

I know that in certain circles that is not a popular opinion, but then, it really doesnt matter. For those who hold a contrary view, and attempt its practice, have lost before they begin. One works, the other is doomed to failure. One is a theory, the other empirical fact.

tomder55 answered on 03/24/04:

I disagree. al Qaeda step by step got bolder in their attacks on us with each non-response . Attacks on embassies ,and on the U.S. Cole were acts of war that should've been treated as such . In all cases ,al Qaeda was sponsored and harbored by willing nations ; First Somalia ,then Afghanistan.

The Clinton Adm. did a lousy job. First by getting kicked out of Somalia , by lobbing cruise missles ,and by refusing the capture of OBL ,he left an impression to them that they could act with impunity . The U.S. did not even make an effective response when the WTC was attacked in 1993 .Why wouldn't they think that the best U.S. response would be to seek criminal prosecutions ? Let's not forget ;the attack on 9-11 was a decapitation attempt. One of those planes were going to attack the White House (the one that hit the Pentagon) The one that crashed in Pa. was probably headed for the Capitol Building ala Tom Clancy.

Now the remnants of al qaeda are operating (surviving and on the run )in an ungoverned region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They can still operate in low intensity attacks like they are doing in Iraq,and occasionally coordinate an attack like Madrid but they are no-where's near the threat they were before 9-11 .

I have no problem with the use of Spec.Forces and other Intel. work ,as well as the use of surrogates when possible ,but those exclusively will not get it done . The world knows that they must act against terrorist organizations operating in their borders . Even appeaser nations know in their hearts that inaction is not an option . France has been trying it for years .Now they fear terrorism becasue of what?; the banning of head scarfs ? Like the Barbary pirates of the past ,terrorist must realize that there are no safe quarters for them when they attack the U.S.

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tonyrey asked on 03/22/04 - "Red in tooth and claw"...

...................... Does that strike you as a balanced description of nature?

tomder55 answered on 03/22/04:

yes in that every life we know of depends on the destruction of another life for it's day to day survival.

no ,because it doesn't mention natures beauty ,and that much of nature is spent in the creation of life .

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chekhovToo asked on 03/21/04 - The Politician's Answer

I often hear politicians' from both sides of the political spectrum being interviewed, and I find it annoying at the irrelevance when they attempt to answer a question (s). For the most part they avoid giving direct answers they don't want to answer and are circuitous in the extreme. How can the public at large counter their linguistic obfuscation?

tomder55 answered on 03/21/04:

this is more a problem here in The U.S. . I notice watching the British debates that TOny Blair is usually direct and to the point .

Straight talkers don't last long here . That tells me that the people aren't really interested in hearing the truth .

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XCHOUX asked on 03/16/04 - To Jewish Board Members

Re: The ubiquitous "The Passion..."

I have been doing some thinking about why this movie is insidious(per Jon1667), apt to cause violence to Jews anywhere over the world.

Two major religions practiced by over a billion people originated from the Jewish idea of god and the idea of prophets of god( Jesus and Mohammud) declaring god's(GodAlmighty/Allah)truth. IN BOTH CASES, the religions have declared in "holy" scripture that the Jews are to be despised! Outrageous! Christians read a bible that says that the Jews will have the blood of Christ on their hands forever, or some such curse. The Koran preaches terrible things about what should be done to the Jew.

My opinion is that any so-called holy scripture or religion that declares and urges other human beings be tormented is NOT FROM "GOD". The ignorant and fools will believe anything and follow any forceful leader who they are willing to give their thinking process over to in the name of feeling "safe" and "saved".

tomder55 answered on 03/17/04:

The Jewish wars of independence were so fierce that they shook the Roman Empire and finally prompted it to destroy Israel. Such wars were instigated, in the opinion of Rome, by political and religious agitators, such as Christ, who said that he was the king of the Jews ; a political statement.
The Jews were not afraid of any religious agitators. The Talmud is a collection of such agitators ; every rabbi expresses his opinion, and Christ was one of the opinionated rabbis. As for political agitation against Rome, Jews were fiercely for the liberation of Judea from Rome and, even if Christ had been engaged in political agitation, that would not have frightened Jews. It could be argued if anything that they were disappointed that he was not political .

Christ was a religious agitator (a proselytizing heretic). That is what pissed of the Pharisees .Pilate suspected him also of political agitation, and in Judea, it was not easy for him to distinguish between religious and political agitation. For Pilate, Christ was a typical criminal case of religious political agitation to be punished by crucifixion as per Roman law.( If the Jews were going to off him ,he wouldve been sent to Herod ,who would have had him beheaded like he had done to John the Baptist)

The Disciples were not a heroic bunch . They fled when Christ was arrested. Peter was terrified . He lied three times that he did not know Christ (and this was the guy Jesus was counting on to build his church). According to the bible ,the whole lot of them were huddled together ,terrified until Christ returned from the dead . Even then ,they did not have the courage to go out and preach the good news until the Holy Spirit anointed them . It could be argued that the Gospels shifts the blame from the Romans to the Jews out of a practical matter of self preservation . But out of all the Gospels ,only Mathew mentions the Pilot washing his hands ,and the Jews shouting 'Let his blood be on us and on our children!'. Why was this significant event ignored by the other 3 ?

As you know ,I believe that early Christians preferred to adjust their teachings to make it palatable to the civil powers that be .Of course ,this did not save most of the disciples from martyrdom.But what it did accomplish was giving them enough time to spread the word.

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Jon1667 asked on 03/15/04 - For those who do not recognize the anti-semitism in the Gibson film.,12241,1157639,00.html

tomder55 answered on 03/15/04:

There is indeed a question of the accuracy of the gospels . Just in reading the 4 gospels you find 4 different depictions of events. They were written years after the events occured ,and thorny issues like the divinity of Christ were not fully established until 325 at The First Council
of Nicaea. At the time Constantine was the emperor of Rome ,and was to adopt Christianity as Rome's religion . Now it stands to reason that Rome would not allow the gospels to say that Pilot was the bad guy. So the gospels write that he faced a terrible dilemna to either allow an unruly mob their wish ,or to have a crowd control problem on his hand. But it was not the Roman way to give into mob rule. Other revolts in Judea were brutally supressed ,and history shows that Pilot was as brutal as they come.

The beauty of the Bible is found in it's message. Literal translations dilute the message. The movie will not make anti-semites of those who are not already so .The movie has been out for 3 weekends in the U.S. ,and beside one case where a minister posted 'the Jews killed Jesus' on a strret side sign (an act that drew the outrage of the local community ) I have heard of no incidents of anti-semitism inspired by the movie.

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XCHOUX asked on 03/13/04 - Individual Freedom vs Societal Needs

I want to do a little thinking and reading about individual freedom and the needs of the individual's society to maintain, well, stability or whatever.

Could someone(s) give me a place to start thinking about this, or a web site to visit with info or a book.


tomder55 answered on 03/15/04:

"The real freedom of any individual can always be measured by the amount of responsibility which he must assume for his own welfare and security." - Robert Welch

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Dark_Crow asked on 03/13/04 - "who are you to impose your morality on me!

who are you to impose your morality on me! has been the foremost slogan I have heard all of my life. American morality has evolved from around the globe, evolved from the wisdom of all the preceding cultures. America escaped from the morality of the Church; Nietcheze shouted it out to the world---Individualism (responsibility for our own actions) Free will.
And some in the world would have us support the very thing Americans have fought against for so many years, morality imposed by the church
If the best morality that can be sought after, is the intermeshing of the morality of the wisdom of all cultures, then America is where it is happing.

tomder55 answered on 03/15/04:

Imposition of morality is not only desirable, but unavoidable under the rule of law, and therefore, the only difference among the various political groups is which moral system they wish to see imposed.
We have laws against assault. Some people see nothing wrong with beating people up and even enjoy it. Our laws say that people have a right not to be beaten up. The law imposes that moral belief on everyone, and most people agree that this is a good thing. Even if you say that laws are not derived from morals, their effects would be exactly the same as if they were. Even Libertarians would impose morality on actions, by requiring that no one directly harm an innocent person. The argument against imposing morality on people is beside the point, as the only way to avoid imposing morality is to abandon the rule of law.

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XCHOUX asked on 03/09/04 - Ultra Deep Field

Astronomers received light from Hubble that had streaked through space for 13 Billion years and viewed very close to the beginning of the Universe(13.7 Billion Years). The galasxies vere very chaotic and screwy acting. But, be calm, thee were gas fumes that formed the appearance of an old guy with a bear just behind these galaxies. Just kidding about the old guy part. Soon, the very origin of the Universe.

tomder55 answered on 03/10/04:

so in another 0.7 bil we get to see the face of God ?

I bet God looks alot like Vincent Van Gogh

Starry Nights

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Jon1667 asked on 03/08/04 - The Passion is a hoot.

The Passion is a hoot.,4120,1159068,00.html

tomder55 answered on 03/08/04:

The reaction to "The Passion" begs the question--what is likely to happen when the actual Second Coming (or, first, if you happen to be Jewish) takes place?

(1) Matt Drudge will break the story, while the mainstream media sit on it.

(2) AOL will run a poll: "Do you think this fellow is 1) The Son of God 2) A fake 3) No opinion." The "no opinion" group will total 70 percent.

(3) Gideon Bibles will go missing from hotels--either that or the Book of Revelation will be torn from the binder.

(4) If it happens on Bush's watch, Kerry and company will characterize it as one more attempt on the part of the president to deflect attention from the horrid state of the economy. Somebody will undoubtedly claim to have seen Jesus having lunch with Dick Cheney in the Halliburton cafeteria.

(6) When the "judging of the dead" commences, the ACLU will launch a lawsuit claiming that the sinners were not properly warned, the Bible is not sufficiently clear relative to proper behavior and the consequences of living a life of sin.

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XCHOUX asked on 03/07/04 - Capitalism

Capitalism, in order not to become brutal, must be balanced by strong religious/spiritual belief. Today, politicians and corporations are not concerned by traditional ethical values.

We need a strong shame factor if we are to deal with politicians and the corporate tactics.

Martha needs to do hard time for a start.


tomder55 answered on 03/08/04:

Martha was convicted for lying (probably a violation of her 1st amendment rights) ,and because she is a B**CH . I agree with the rest of your posting ,but Martha has already been hit where it hurts her the most ; in her fat Louis Vuitton handbag.

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HANK1 asked on 02/16/04 - FORMULISM:

"Formulism is a rejection of artificial divisions, such as those based on religion, ethnicity, nationality and political affiliation. Formulists recognize just one world (without borders) and just one race (the human race). People are viewed as equal and divided only by their actions toward others (as defined by a simple equation). Formulists may hold religious beliefs, but those who do also realise that beliefs are not the same as facts; indeed, that religion in general has had nothing but a detrimental effect upon humanity. It's for these reasons that Formulists neither profess nor practise their beliefs - an example that we hope all will one day choose to follow."

Source: Formulism Web Site

Your comments ... if any!


tomder55 answered on 02/16/04:

here is their proposal to the U.N. re:banning religion ;


* to save succeeding generations from the scourge of organized religion, a folly which has brought untold sorrow to mankind through the division, hatred and conflict it engenders, and

* to reaffirm an individual's right to freedom of belief, freedom of conscience and freedom of prayer, and

* to establish conditions under which these freedoms can be privately exercised.


1. To outlaw, with immediate effect, the public expression of religious beliefs, including the use of symbols, clothing or markings which are synonymous with any currently or previously existing religions.

2. To outlaw, with immediate effect, public acts of worship or religious declaration.

3. To outlaw, with immediate effect, private gatherings of three or more people for the purposes of engaging in acts of worship or religious services.

4. To outlaw, with immediate effect, the publication of books, literature or articles which seek to promote religious beliefs or encourage adherence to religious doctrine.

5. To outlaw, after a period of amnesty, the personal ownership of books or materials which seek to promote religious beliefs or encourage adherence to religious doctrine. (Books of academic or social interest will be made freely available to schools, universities and public libraries).

6. To outlaw, with immediate effect, the celebration of religiously significant dates.

7. To begin, with immediate effect, the destruction or reassignment of predominantly religious buildings, such as churches, mosques and temples.

sounds like the former Soviet Union to me .

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tonyrey asked on 02/15/04 - When, if ever, is suicide justifiable?


tomder55 answered on 02/15/04:

I would step in front of a truck to save my daughter.

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tonyrey asked on 02/09/04 - When and to what extent should we be dogmatic?


tomder55 answered on 02/12/04:

Why are we so sure that we can't be sure of anything?

We can't be DOGMATIC about anything!

This is a frequently heard phrase. The funny thing is that people who say this usually dont consider the fact that they obviously believe they're correct in making this statements . By making this absolute statement , they are contradicting themselves. Or maybe it is just their perception? Could their perception be wrong?

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XCHOUX asked on 02/08/04 - BBC Reels Under Criticism

"The Week Magazine" Feb 13, 2004 Page 15

"Tony Blair has been exonerated, said George Jones in the 'Daily Telegraph'. The BBC accused Blair of purposefully lying about Iraq's weapon's capabilities, attributing the claim to an unnamed source. When that source was outed in the media as scientist David Kelly, he killed himself. The tragedy prompted an unprecedented barrage of accusations and counter-accusations between the government and the BBC, and an independent commission was appopinted to report on Kelly's death. Nobody espected the report, released last week by the commission head Lord Hutton, to be so "damning" of the BBC. Hutton accused the BBC of having a "defective" editorial system that sllowed its reporters to make "unfounded", politically biased calims, and he cleared the government of any wrongdoing. ...The BBC face "the worst crisis in its history".

Having watched BBC America in the past and been disgusted with its bias, this proof is good news to me.


tomder55 answered on 02/09/04:

Duke professor of political science Peter Feaver wrote in a Washinton Post op-ed: How could even the all-powerful neocons have manipulated the intelligence estimates of the Clinton administration, French intelligence, British intelligence, German intelligence, and all the other coconspirators who concurred on the fundamentals of the Bush(and Blair) assessment? Belief that Saddam had WMD was universal before the war .Besides Scott Ritter ,I do not know of anyone who was of the opinion that Iraq did not have them .

Hutton's report found the BBC guilty. The original story that the government had deliberately inserted a false claim into a published document concerning Saddam Hussein's WMD, was unfounded. BBC failed to ensure proper editorial procedures to prevent such false reports from being broadcast. Hutton found that Kelly did not tell BBC reporter Gilligan the government deliberately 'sexed up' information about Iraq; that Kelly, though a expert on Iraq's weapons, had no connection with the compiling of the WMD document; and Kelly, far from being an opponent of the war, was actually a supporter of getting rid of Saddam Hussein.The BBC's management refused to back down from the report even though some of its own editorial staff were quietly questioning its reliability.Tragically when Dr. Kelly committed suicide , the public verdict seemed to be that a man who had been trying to expose government wrong doing and had been unmasked for his efforts had taken his own life.

BBC reporters and editors share a worldview that is simular of the New York Times and much of the world press, and they hold the same conviction that theirs alone is an objective account of the truth.Its Middle East coverage is one-sided. Its pro-Palestinian bias is so blatant that the London bureau chief of the Jerusalem Post refused to take part in any more BBC news programs because he believed the corporation was fomenting anti-Semitism.It is ok to view BBC broadcasts in the U.S. I do so many times ,but you have to realize that although it is a very powerful(subsidized by the British tax payer ) institution it is not a denizen of unbiased journalism .

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tonyrey asked on 02/03/04 - Can torture ever be justified?


tomder55 answered on 02/03/04:

There are a few circumstances where torture is justified . Injecting Saddam with sodium pentathol to get information would be acceptable. Suppose someone has info. on where a dirty nuke bomb is located in your home town that is near detonation . Would torture not then be justified if it saved many other lives ? An officer in Iraq used a mild psychological form of torture that prevented a terrorist attack on his troops . He was justified in my view.

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tonyrey asked on 01/30/04 - Would you have assassinated Hitler?

........ if you had had the opportunity...

tomder55 answered on 02/02/04:

in a N.Y. minute

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grayeagle_50 asked on 01/30/04 - Conservative??

Sorry if my spelling is off..The question is...Just what is a conservative? I was told that Bush is one, yet he has out spent all other presidents..He vowed to keep a conservitive office so ,I'd like to know what it is he was talking about. could it be that it is just another name tagging to draw in the voters that don't focus on the real issues??? All answers are welcomed and thanks....Jeff

tomder55 answered on 01/30/04:

you are right .in American politics the labels are irrelevent . Bush needs to say he is conservative because his party has done such an effective job stigmatizing the'liberal' that in many Amercians eyes it is tantamount to being Communist. Those like you who have thought it through realize that in modern American politics the fiscal differences between the parties is one likes to tax and spend ,while the other likes to spend without taxing sufficiently to pay for it.
Of course there are other issues that separate the parties ,but the dividing lines are blurred due to the parties willing to pander to increase their electorate.

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tonyrey asked on 01/25/04 - What are your views on retribution?


tomder55 answered on 01/26/04:

Our schedules of punishment are an effort to make punishment fit the crime; to agree with this principle is to agree that retribution should play a role in punishment." Professor Berns properly relates retribution to righteous anger:[Walter Berns is John M. Olin University Professor emeritus at Georgetown University ]

Anger is the sentiment aroused by the sight of injustice, and is therefore, intimately allied with justice and civil society requires justice. that anger is satisfied when retribution is exacted, And that anger should be rewarded, for its basis is the sentiment that to murder is wrong. The law blames murder when it punishes the murderer; the law praises those who do not murder when it punishes that murderer, and in this way deters murder. Even Time Magazine after 9-11 called for retribution .Few would argue that it was unjustified .

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Jon1667 asked on 01/23/04 - An interesting assessment

For an interesting assessment of the place of the United States in the world, go to the following New York Times piece:

I don't agree with all of it, especially with its unstated view that "Europe" consists of France and Germany alone, while ignoring the cooperation of the rest of Europe with the United States in the war against Iraq.
But, it is a sober and intelligent piece.
I look forward to responses.

tomder55 answered on 01/26/04:

What was happening before out intervention into Iraq ? Cruise missiles raining across borders at the whim of the U.S. President without a peep of opposition from Europe or the World Community . No-fly zones were violated, armistices broken , U.N. mandates ignored. U.N. food embargoes and other sanctions were broken by our European partners and they were complicit in the looting of oil revenues to buy imported weaponry. They were the weapon merchants to Iraq in the 1990s . For all the chaos we supposedly created, we no longer have mass graves, but instead we have Shiites demonstrating for democratic elections and Kurds forging plans for a semi-autonomous state. The neighbors of Iraq will watch in horror at free elections and debates as democracy is born in their back yard .

What is strange about our new European relationship is not that it has deteriorated, but that its premises had not been questioned long ago. We are now raising questions that shouldve been asked years ago.Why defend a continent larger and more populous than our own? Why consider the German and French governments staunch allies? By any listening to their rhetoric and anti-American diplomacy you would never guess they were anything but competitors .It is the Europeans , not Americans, who have been most interested in Iraqi oil. Europe, not America, is more likely to tolerate massacres in the Balkans or Iraq. Our greatest sin is acting belatedly to stop autocratic killing ,but this is a still better than never acting at all. When you look at the Iranian regime being schmoozed by Paris, count up all the dead elderly from the August heat wave, and examine the issue of banning of hajib , France, not the United States, is the real sick puppy.
The United States tried to get the U.N. to participate . We also tried to get NATO to do so . Now that things are winding down,the U.N. is contemplating their role . I can almost guarantee that when all the dust is cleared ,the Europeans will send sufficient troops to guarantee their slice of the oil pie .The Europeans especially France and Germany frequently talk of having a foreign policy ,and a common defense separate from the U.S. They never back it up with a sufficient expenditure to even remotely realize this goal . Almost 60 years after WWII American forces are still based in Europe to provide for their defense ;freeing them to forge inefficient socialist utopias with the confiscatory tax rates they fleece their populations with. As I mentioned on another board ; I have seen it put in the context of a Hollywood Western. The town folks know that they need the sheriff to clean up the town .At the same time they are distrustful of the sheriff,because they know he wields more power than they do ,and are fearful that he could just as easily use that power against them. They want him to do his job ,but when the job is done ,they'd just as soon he ride out into the sunset ,and let them live their fantasy lives (until the next time the bad guys show up).

ethical_reason asked on 01/21/04 - Is bush trying to bring world peace?

I just had an interesting musing. And so, I'd love an answer to this question as I am lacking some data to make a final judgment.

Since democracy leads so naturally into foe-socialistic-capitalism. If the whole world was a democracy, then would it be harder for us to all go to war?

tomder55 answered on 01/22/04:

no ;Bush is responsible for the security of the U.S. only . If bringing democracy to backward places accomplishes this ,then he will do it as a means to the end .

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Jon1667 asked on 01/22/04 - Why we are in Iraq

Thomas L. Friedman writes as follows (New York Times. January 22)

First, this notion, put forward by Mr. Dean and Al Gore, that the war in Iraq has diverted us from the real war on "terrorists" is just wrong. There is no war on "terrorism" that does not address the misgovernance and pervasive sense of humiliation in the Muslim world. Sure, Al Qaeda and Saddam pose different threats, Mr. Marshall notes, "but they emerge from the same pathology of widespread repression, economic stagnation and fear of cultural decline." Building a decent Iraq is very much part of the war on terrorism.

Second, sometimes smashing someone in the face is necessary to signal others that they will be held accountable for the intolerance they incubate. Removing the Taliban and Saddam sent that message to every government in the area.

Third, the Iraq war may have created more hatred of the U.S., but it has also triggered a hugely important dialogue among Arabs and Muslims about the necessity of reform.

I agree with most of this. Don't you?

tomder55 answered on 01/22/04:

sure do ;In October British-U.S. interception forces seized a German ship with the centrifuges that was bound for Libya. The capture of the ship, which was taken to Italy, came as Libya completed negotiations to allow a British-U.S. team to visit Libyan missile and WMD facilities.
The Guardian reported that Libya was believed to have provided information to the United States that enabled the capture of the German ship. The newspaper said Khaddafy wanted to demonstrate his sincerity in ending his WMD programs.The question begs to be asked ;Would he have been so cooperative if he did not see what had happened in Iraq ?

Why has Pakistan suddenly decided to have talks with India to ease tensions along their border ? Two years ago they were on the verge of a nuclear exchange . Musharraf of Pakistan has now become an ally of ours in the war on terror ;risking 3 assassination attempts in the last month in the process.No longer will Pakistan be the exporter of nuclear technology to places like N.Korea and Libya.

'Our war on terror is well begun, but it is only begun. This campaign may not be finished on our watch -- yet it must be and it will be waged on our watch.

We can't stop short. If we stop now -- leaving terror camps intact and terror states unchecked -- our sense of security would be false and temporary. 'Bush State of Union Address 1993

XCHOUX rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Dark_Crow asked on 01/17/04 - God works in mysterious ways, right?

chekhovToo in his question Is philosophy important to study both in and out of college. Why or why not? And I answerer I think the most beneficial reason that the average person should have at least a couple of years of study is that it would tend to give them a more tolerant view of those who disagree with their world-view.

I just wanted to give this example of why I answered as I did.
A simple example is the religions of Christianity and Judaism. Each claims to be right in spite of the fact that the basic premise behind each one is completely contradictory. The Jews believe that the messiah has not yet arrived whereas the Christians believed he arrived some 2000 years ago. They cannot both be right, yet each survives and thrives just fine in spite of this contradiction. The reason is the different frame of reference each one uses. The Jews use the Old Testament whereas the Christians use the New Testament.

Then there is my view that they are both wrong, there is no messiah and it is all a myth.

Now my studying of philosophy has brought me to the realization that all three beliefs are true in their respective frames of reference, hence I am quite tolerant of each one.

God works in mysterious ways, right?

tomder55 answered on 01/17/04:

nope; I'm right and everyone else is wrong. But I tolerate them nonetheless.

Dark_Crow rated this answer Average Answer

Jon1667 asked on 01/17/04 - And now we know why Egypt is so poor

It is a translation of an interview featured in the Egyptian Weekly, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, with Dr. Nabil Hilmi, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Al-Zaqaziq. Dr. Nabil Hilmi is heading up a legal action in Switzerland against all the Jews of the world for stealing Egyptian gold during the Exodus from Egypt. I was going to place comments throughout the text but I think it speaks for itself:

Dr. Hilmi: " Since the Jews make various demands of the Arabs and the world, and claim rights that they base on historical and religious sources, a group of Egyptians in Switzerland has opened the case of the so-called 'great exodus of the Jews from Pharaonic Egypt.' At that time, they stole from the Pharaonic Egyptians gold, jewelry, cooking utensils, silver ornaments, clothing, and more, leaving Egypt in the middle of the night with all this wealth, which today is priceless...
...[the theft] is based on their holy book, the same source on which they relied when they invaded other peoples

...This is clear theft of a host country's resources and treasure, something that fits the morals and character of the Jews. Yet what was not clear to the Egyptian women were the reasons for stealing the cooking utensils, when other things may have been of greater value. However, one of the Egyptian priests said that this had been the Jews' twisted way throughout history; they seek to cause a minor problem connected with the needs of everyday life so as to occupy people with these matters and prevent them from pursuing them to get back the stolen gold...

...A police investigation revealed that Moses and Aaron, peace be upon them, understood that it was impossible to live in Egypt, despite its pleasures and even though the Egyptians included them in every activity, due to the Jews' perverse nature, to which the Egyptians had reconciled themselves, though with obvious unwillingness. Therefore, an order was issued by the Jewish rabbis to flee the country, and that the exodus should be secret and under cover of darkness and with the largest possible amount of loot. The code word was 'At midnight.' In addition, the Jewish women were told to steal the gold and cooking utensils of the Egyptian women, and that is what happened...

...If we assume that the weight of what was stolen was one ton, [its worth] doubled every 20 years, even if the annual interest is only 5%. In one ton of gold is 700 kg of pure gold and we must remember that what was stolen was jewelry, that is, alloyed with copper. Hence, after 1,000 years, it would be worth 1,125,898,240 million tons, which equals 1,125,898 billion tons for 1,000 years. In other words, 1,125 trillion tons of gold, that is, a million multiplied by a million tons of gold. This is for one stolen ton. The stolen gold is estimated at 300 tons, and it was not stolen for 1,000 years, but for 5,758 years, by the Jewish reckoning. Therefore, the debt is very large

The value must be calculated precisely in accordance with the information collected, and afterward a lawsuit must be filed against all the Jews of the world, and against the Jews of Israel in particular, so they will repay the Egyptians the debt that appears in the Torah...

...There may be a compromise solution. The debt can be rescheduled over 1,000 years, with the addition of the cumulative interest during that period..."

Oh dear.

tomder55 answered on 01/17/04:

I have been researching for years looking for an ancestor who was oppressed. You would think that my being 1/2 Irish it would be an easy task.

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XCHOUX asked on 01/17/04 - Can Problems Ever Be Solved?

I was participating in a discussion about President Bush's Plan for Illegal Immigrants.

One of the participants said that his proposition would not "solve the problem".

Are problems ever solved?

tomder55 answered on 01/17/04:

sure they can be, but most likey the fix causes other problems . The Armistice that ended WWI did indeed fix the problem .The war ended .Provisions of it however led directly to the rise of Hitler ,and WWII.

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tonyrey asked on 01/14/04 - When does the end justify the means?


tomder55 answered on 01/14/04:

'Anyone who would act up to a perfect standard of goodness in everything must be ruined among so many who are not good. It is essential therefore for a prince to have learnt how to be other than good and to use, or not to use, his goodness as necessity requires.'Machiavelli

Once a goal has been decided upon ,reaching that goal is the only thing that matters from that point on if it is deemed worthy enough. No matter what you do to reach the goal, the goal is the only thing that matters. It does not matter how you get there. It's simply that you do get there.

tonyrey rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

JeffreyBryson asked on 01/14/04 - Comments?

In the tradition of Ken, I'll post likewise but only to stimulate conversation amongst yourselves given how quiet it's been getting here lately.

The Awful Truth

Published: January 13, 2004


People are saying terrible things about George Bush. They say that his officials weren't sincere about pledges to balance the budget. They say that the planning for an invasion of Iraq began seven months before 9/11, that there was never any good evidence that Iraq was a threat and that the war actually undermined the fight against terrorism.

But these irrational Bush haters are body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freaks who should go back where they came from: the executive offices of Alcoa, and the halls of the Army War College.

I was one of the few commentators who didn't celebrate Paul O'Neill's appointment as Treasury secretary. And I couldn't understand why, if Mr. O'Neill was the principled man his friends described, he didn't resign early from an administration that was clearly anything but honest.

But now he's showing the courage I missed back then, by giving us an invaluable, scathing insider's picture of the Bush administration.

Ron Suskind's new book "The Price of Loyalty" is based largely on interviews with and materials supplied by Mr. O'Neill. It portrays an administration in which political considerations satisfying "the base" trump policy analysis on every issue, from tax cuts to international trade policy and global warming. The money quote may be Dick Cheney's blithe declaration that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." But there are many other revelations.

One is that Mr. O'Neill and Alan Greenspan knew that it was a mistake to lock in huge tax cuts based on questionable projections of future surpluses. In May 2001 Mr. Greenspan gloomily told Mr. O'Neill that because the first Bush tax cut didn't include triggers it went forward regardless of how the budget turned out it was "irresponsible fiscal policy." This was a time when critics of the tax cut were ridiculed for saying exactly the same thing.

Another is that Mr. Bush, who declared in the 2000 campaign that "the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum," knew that this wasn't true. He worried that eliminating taxes on dividends would benefit only "top-rate people," asking his advisers, "Didn't we already give them a break at the top?"

Most startling of all, Donald Rumsfeld pushed the idea of regime change in Iraq as a way to transform the Middle East at a National Security Council meeting in February 2001.

There's much more in Mr. Suskind's book. All of it will dismay those who still want to believe that our leaders are wise and good.

The question is whether this book will open the eyes of those who think that anyone who criticizes the tax cuts is a wild-eyed leftist, and that anyone who says the administration hyped the threat from Iraq is a conspiracy theorist.

The point is that the credentials of the critics just keep getting better. How can Howard Dean's assertion that the capture of Saddam hasn't made us safer be dismissed as bizarre, when a report published by the Army War College says that the war in Iraq was a "detour" that undermined the fight against terror? How can charges by Wesley Clark and others that the administration was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq be dismissed as paranoid in the light of Mr. O'Neill's revelations?

So far administration officials have attacked Mr. O'Neill's character but haven't refuted any of his facts. They have, however, already opened an investigation into how a picture of a possibly classified document appeared during Mr. O'Neill's TV interview. This alacrity stands in sharp contrast with their evident lack of concern when a senior administration official, still unknown, blew the cover of a C.I.A. operative because her husband had revealed some politically inconvenient facts.

Some will say that none of this matters because Saddam is in custody, and the economy is growing. Even in the short run, however, these successes may not be all they're cracked up to be. More Americans were killed and wounded in the four weeks after Saddam's capture than in the four weeks before. The drop in the unemployment rate since its peak last summer doesn't reflect a greater availability of jobs, but rather a decline in the share of the population that is even looking for work.

More important, having a few months of good news doesn't excuse a consistent pattern of dishonest, irresponsible leadership. And that pattern keeps getting harder to deny.

tomder55 answered on 01/14/04:

If he had philosophical differences with the administration over monetary and fiscal policy ,he should've resigned instead of being forced to resign . As for Iraq ; the official policy of the U.S. as early as 1998 was regime change . It is not unusual for the military to war-game and to speculate strategy for any number of possible scenarios in advance of the need to implement it . 9-11 only demonstrated in their,and my mind the urgency of regime change .Of course that is a debatable point ,but in all honesty it was debated ,and right or wrong ,the American people were solidly behind the effort.

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Jon1667 asked on 01/06/04 - To all conspiritorialists

Here is a piece which the conspiritorialists on this board might read seeking enlightenment.

January 6, 2004
The Era of Distortion

o you ever get the sense the whole world is becoming unhinged from reality? I started feeling that way awhile ago, when I was still working for The Weekly Standard and all these articles began appearing about how Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Bill Kristol and a bunch of "neoconservatives" at the magazine had taken over U.S. foreign policy.

Theories about the tightly knit neocon cabal came in waves. One day you read that neocons were pushing plans to finish off Iraq and move into Syria. Web sites appeared detailing neocon conspiracies; my favorite described a neocon outing organized by Dick Cheney to hunt for humans. The Asian press had the most lurid stories; the European press the most thorough. Every day, it seemed, Le Monde or some deep-thinking German paper would have an expos on the neocon cabal, complete with charts connecting all the conspirators.

The full-mooners fixated on a think tank called the Project for the New American Century, which has a staff of five and issues memos on foreign policy. To hear these people describe it, PNAC is sort of a Yiddish Trilateral Commission, the nexus of the sprawling neocon tentacles.

We'd sit around the magazine guffawing at the ludicrous stories that kept sprouting, but belief in shadowy neocon influence has now hardened into common knowledge. Wesley Clark, among others, cannot go a week without bringing it up.

In truth, the people labeled neocons (con is short for "conservative" and neo is short for "Jewish") travel in widely different circles and don't actually have much contact with one another. The ones outside government have almost no contact with President Bush. There have been hundreds of references, for example, to Richard Perle's insidious power over administration policy, but I've been told by senior administration officials that he has had no significant meetings with Bush or Cheney since they assumed office. If he's shaping their decisions, he must be microwaving his ideas into their fillings.

It's true that both Bush and the people labeled neocons agree that Saddam Hussein represented a unique threat to world peace. But correlation does not mean causation. All evidence suggests that Bush formed his conclusions independently. Besides, if he wanted to follow the neocon line, Bush wouldn't know where to turn because while the neocons agree on Saddam, they disagree vituperatively on just about everything else. (If you ever read a sentence that starts with "Neocons believe," there is a 99.44 percent chance everything else in that sentence will be untrue.)

Still, there are apparently millions of people who cling to the notion that the world is controlled by well-organized and malevolent forces. And for a subset of these people, Jews are a handy explanation for everything.

There's something else going on, too. The proliferation of media outlets and the segmentation of society have meant that it's much easier for people to hive themselves off into like-minded cliques. Some people live in towns where nobody likes President Bush. Others listen to radio networks where nobody likes Bill Clinton.

In these communities, half-truths get circulated and exaggerated. Dark accusations are believed because it is delicious to believe them. Vince Foster was murdered. The Saudis warned the Bush administration before Sept. 11.

You get to choose your own reality. You get to believe what makes you feel good. You can ignore inconvenient facts so rigorously that your picture of the world is one big distortion.

And if you can give your foes a collective name liberals, fundamentalists or neocons you can rob them of their individual humanity. All inhibitions are removed. You can say anything about them. You get to feed off their villainy and luxuriate in your own contrasting virtue. You will find books, blowhards and candidates playing to your delusions, and you can emigrate to your own version of Planet Chomsky. You can live there unburdened by ambiguity.

Improvements in information technology have not made public debate more realistic. On the contrary, anti-Semitism is resurgent. Conspiracy theories are prevalent. Partisanship has left many people unhinged.

Welcome to election year, 2004.

tomder55 answered on 01/06/04:

good article .I am from a blue state
,but I kinda feel like a red state person.
I like that full -mooners description .
I usually call them the black helicopter crowd .
One of the main reasons I became suspicious
of the Rep.Paul essay was when he called
9/11 a convenient or an opportunistic event.
That gave the neo-cons an opportunity to
unleash their predetermined plot.

I like the proliferation of information because
it gives me the ability to reference from
multiple sources . I agree that if you are closed
minded ,then you can always find sources to
reinforce your perceptions .That I suppose is
the down side of freedom. The alternative is

XCHOUX asked on 01/06/04 - Philosophical Question

In your opinion, what is the oldest philosophical question?

Cordially, Chou

tomder55 answered on 01/06/04:

Hi there!!!!! How ya doin ?

my guess is that it was a grunt that sounded much like "HUH " ? A simple translation would be : why .............(fill in the blank)??

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tonyrey asked on 01/02/04 - To what extent is life a war between good and evil?


tomder55 answered on 01/02/04:

It is the defining conflict of humanity .Ultimately it determines who we are .

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hmghaly asked on 12/31/03 - Happy New Year :)

Dear All,
I wish you all a very pleasant new year 2004, and hope this coming year is much better than the past one 2003. I missed being here for a long time as I was busy with my study for the last semester at the university, and the good thing is that "I am now an engineer"- or at least, someone with engineering dgree, let's see what I'm going to do with it :)!

Wishing you all the best,

tomder55 answered on 12/31/03:

best of luck in your new endeavors. Also hope you find the time to peruse answerway on occasion although i suspect that time will become a precious commodity ,as it usually is with successful people .

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tonyrey asked on 12/23/03 - Agnosticism or atheism?

........ Which is more reasonable?

tomder55 answered on 12/23/03:

as Bradd has already pointed out ,there was an inherent weakness in the athiests argument,so they have revised their beliefs ,and essentially have brought onto the agnostic rational . I respect the agnostic position ,because it is reasonable to not be certain ,but to leave the option open . Faith is needed to be religious ,and not all are blessed with it .

tonyrey rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

tonyrey asked on 12/18/03 - Is atheism a theory or an assumption?


tomder55 answered on 12/19/03:

an assumption . it takes a simulsr leap of faith to believe in a creator ,or to believe that something came from nothing . either way ,it is not a provable ,or disprovable theory.

tonyrey rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

Dark_Crow asked on 12/01/03 - Sermon on the Mount

What does it mean to be -Be righteous, be meek, be pure of heart, be a peacemaker, be merciful

And although these are the teaching of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount could they not also be the wisdom of hundreds of thousands of years of mankind, and should they not only be the cause of Religion but the cause of Atheism as well.

tomder55 answered on 12/02/03:

they are words of wisdom ,but I do not think they are inherent in man by any means .these attributes are not necessarily the normal behavior of mankind in the 21st Century ,let alone from ancient history where survival much like today is ones paramount concern .These words are extraordinarily special ,and only a few extraordinary humans have been able to stir humankind with such teachings .

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chekhovToo asked on 12/02/03 - G-d and Darwin's Theory of Evolution

When one looks at the Existence of G-d, then how important is Darwin's theory of evolution in all of this?

tomder55 answered on 12/02/03:

I agree with Jeff . There is no inherent conflict between science and religion . Creationist believe that God started the ball rolling .After that it is really irrelevent wheter things proceded by either pure chance or intelligent design. There is no way of knowing that anyway. Darwinism is a good enough theory for now ;until the inevidable replacement theory emerges .

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ttalady asked on 11/26/03 - Education

I was just on another site that brought up a question I wish to ask all of you. If you wish to answer of course.

School/College Education verses self Educating?

I know as FACT that most if not all education from schooling is that of choice, opinion, and mostly views of the teacher. The teacher having control on the mind of the student. Then again it does depend on the class, as in art and writing was more of expanding the norm and venturing into the imagination. I excell in art, writing, math, and science.

During my 18-28 years I have excelled in social studies, parenting, and lost most of my algebra. As for art, I have no ambition however respect for beautiful pieces, as for science it has become torment for me being what they have done with such. Cloning!

Is self educating oneself less than that of a school education? Honestly I ask being a degree in something is that of high standards over one that can PROVE they know!

How is it that being taught the ropes of another is better than that of teaching yourself the ropes? It seems like more of a manipulation of thought than the freedom of thought?

Been wrong before, what are your thoughts?

tomder55 answered on 11/26/03:

I have learned more on my own then I ever did at the university.If you don't need the credentials then self learning saves you lots of dough.For the price,I have a piece of paper telling future employers I am smart. When I was going to school I did not fully realize the extent of the subjectiveness of the instruction I received . Being a history /pol.sci. major meant that I may have been disproportionatly subject to the learning of "facts"through a prism .Life experience has been a great cleanser ,and the most valuable teacher I have had.

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tonyrey asked on 11/21/03 - Is scientific explanation superior to others?


tomder55 answered on 11/21/03:

not at all . History shows that scientific explanations are only as reliable as the current theory dictates . Scientific fact is amazingly short lived and unreliable given peoples faith in it . And let's not kid ourselves ; science knowlege is frequently forged by those trying to prove a preconceived idea . Eggs in a very few years were part of a healthy diet;needed to be restricted ,and are now healthy again .Sun exposure was a necessary source of vitamin D ,and now is something to be avoided without sunscreen . Blood letting by leaches was a common medical practice,then it became barbarian . Now they are finding it a valuable treatment in limited cases .

I would put scientific expanations in a proper context .As Jon says ;it depends on where it is applied .On whole ,it is on a par with other human experiences.

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Jon1667 asked on 11/20/03 - Proving

People talk about: proving God exists; proving that I exist; proving that the world exists. Or, sometimes, they talk about something they call "a scientific proof." But they never tell you what their standard of proof is. What would it take to prove these things? What would a "scientific proof" of God's existence be if there were one? What does it mean if there isn't such a thing? Is a scientific proof the only kind of proof?

I'd like to hear answers to (at least) some of these questions so that I might be able to understand what it is that people lament when they lament that we have no such proofs. How, for instance, does the evidence we do have for our own existence, fall short of a proof?

tomder55 answered on 11/21/03:

there is no evidence that would be acceptable proof to an athiest ;short of a personal handshake with the Diety .

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Jon1667 asked on 11/10/03 - Is playing pinball as good as thinking about philosophy?

John Stuart Mill held that there was a difference in the quality of pleasure. For instance, he would have held that if A. enjoys playing pinball, but B enjoys thinking about philosophy, that even if A enjoys playing pinball more than B enjoys thinking about philosophy, nevertheless, the enjoyment of thinking about philosophy is a BETTER enjoyment than playing pinball. So, on the Principle of Utility which is that action is right which affords the greatest happiness to the greatest number, even if the quantity of pleasure or happiness for the people involved would be greater for those who enjoy playing pinball, the quality of pleasure of happiness for those who think about philosophy is so much greater, that if a government had the choice between giving a certain amount of money for the support of pinball playing, and for the support of thinking about philosophy, the government ought to support thinking about philosophy rather than pinball, even if (because, presumably more people would enjoy playing pinball that thinking about philosophy) the quantity of pleasure or happiness would be increased by the support of pinball playing. (And, of course, this would go for building a great hall for the performance of opera or symphonic music over, say, a stadium for the performance of rock music or of Country Western music, since the enjoyment of great opera or a great symphony would create better although probably not as much happiness.)

Do you think that some pleasures or some happiness is better than others? Ought a government support a symphony orchestra rather than a rock band? In defense of his view that some enjoyment or pleasure is better than another, Mill writes:

"If I am asked, what I mean by difference of quality in pleasures, or what makes one pleasure more valuable than another, merely as a pleasure, except its being greater in amount, there is but one possible answer. Of two pleasures, if there be one to which all or almost all who have experience of both give a decided preference, irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation to prefer it, that is the more desirable pleasure. If one of the two is, by those who are competently acquainted with both, placed so far above the other that they prefer it, even though knowing it to be attended with a greater amount of discontent, and would not resign it for any quantity of the other pleasure which their nature is capable of, we are justified in ascribing to the preferred enjoyment a superiority in quality, so far outweighing quantity as to render it, in comparison, of small account.

Now it is an unquestionable fact that those who are equally acquainted with, and equally capable of appreciating and enjoying, both, do give a most marked preference to the manner of existence which employs their higher faculties. Few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals, for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast's pleasures; no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, no instructed person would be an ignoramus, no person of feeling and conscience would be selfish and base, even though they should be persuaded that the fool, the dunce, or the rascal is better satisfied with his lot than they are with theirs. They would not resign what they possess more than he for the most complete satisfaction of all the desires which they have in common with him."

And, he also asks, rhetorically, this question? If we distinguish between quantity and quality in all other things (diamonds or hamburgers, for instance) why not distinguish between quality and quantity in enjoyment or happiness?

tomder55 answered on 11/11/03:

The gvt. maker these determinations all the time . Here in N.Y. there is from time to time an outcry over which work of art gets subsidized ,and displayed in public supported museums . Also radio stations throughout the country air NPR even though they would fail miserably as a private enterprise. Maybe the gvt. doesn't get it .Certainly the Romans understood the value of some good bread and circus .

tonyrey asked on 10/29/03 - How is truth related to reality?


tomder55 answered on 10/29/03:

Looks are deceiving .A perception based on something other than the truth is a deception.

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tonyrey asked on 10/29/03 - How is truth related to reality?


tomder55 answered on 10/29/03:

They are synonymous.Anything that is not a truth is a fantasy. Perceptions and opinions do not qualify as truth or reality unless they actually are true . There are no relative truths or realities .

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Jon1667 asked on 10/28/03 - The rating system

Do we rate to boost the ego of those who reply, and to let them know that we think their answers are both heartfelt and sincere; or because we think their answers are well-thought out, and even, imagine, right!

tomder55 answered on 10/28/03:

I rate all answers to questions I have asked out of courtesy .I rate all answers to questions I've asked with 5 stars unless the answer is rediculous,and or abusive. I give 5 stars if I'm commenting on an answer to a question someone else asked because that is the only way to comment besides a clarification . I also give 5 stars if I'm rating a question because I agree with it.

Generally I think the rating system is meaningless .

chekhovToo asked on 10/22/03 - Ethics - Bush Doctrine

Is the Bush doctrine an ethical response to rogue states or is it a portent to international order?

tomder55 answered on 10/23/03:

The Bush doctrine represents a foreign policy that shows a shift from a policy of cold war containment to long-term interventionism representative of what America did for Germany and Japan after WWII. The policy of containment only damaged Americas reputation in fostering democracy as the U.S. repeatedly supported regimes that were corrupt on the sole basis that they were anti-Communist.

Actually the Bush policy was taking shape as national policy before Bush became president. Do you think it was wrong for Clinton to intervene in Kosovo? He did this unilaterally without the backing of the UN and was largely successful in preventing further genocide.

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ttalady asked on 10/21/03 - solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem, cont

I really question in my morals, beliefs, and mostly thoughts; if these people do not care why should I!

How many times has this been a matter of fixing? It is never suprising when there is a new bomb, new tradgedy, new death toll in their countries. They fight over what? For real what? Most say the "HOLY LAND", however I believe these two countries just fight because with out such what would they have?

It's like people that just like to argue all the time. I was once that, I know! Just ones that like to stir up garbage and never see what beauty lies before them in life.

The only solution to this is to let it resolve itself. Never has a country turned a back to one out of a good means. It has always that they do it for the money. Would it not be life long to let this figure itself out?

Why do we concern ourselves with things that are beyond our control yet blinded by what is in our control? We need to change the program, the channel, and figure out what one can do in the second over what it will take years to do for millions.

Comments please!

tomder55 answered on 10/23/03:

some things you cannot ignore . In retrospect ;everyone says that Hitler should've been stopped before he got too strong . He made his intentions clear long before he carried out his program . Simularliy ,the Palestinians (at least Arafat and his ilk) published the Palestinian Charter . They outline their strategy of a systematic destruction of Israel. They have been keeping remarkably consistant with their doctrine .

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Jon1667 asked on 10/21/03 - What is a philosophical problem?

Now we have strayed to international solutions to chronic international problems about which most of us know very little, what is a philosophical problem as contrasted with other kinds of problems. The Palestinian issue is clearly not a philosophical problem, but what is the nature of knowledge or whether morality is subjective or objective are philosophical problems. What makes a problem a philosophical problem? Perhaps the answer to that might serve the purpose of keeping this board more relevant.

tomder55 answered on 10/21/03:

ok ,can peace be obtained by political means only ? that is :if the people do not want peace than what chance is there of a political settlement lasting ?

then to take it one step further , would a forcible expulsion ,simular to Andrew Jackson's solution to the American Indian problem not be appropriate ? This is what the Palestinian charter advocates ,and I'm not sure the Israeli's don't also see it as a 'final solution' .

Dark_Crow asked on 10/20/03 - solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem

The solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem is for Israel to start the removal of some 200,000 Jewish settlers from the West Bank and Gaza strip, that seems like it would be a good show of faith, + its the right thing to do.
Just as the Palestinian Authority needs to confront and eradicate the terrorists within their midst, so too does the Israeli government need to confront and remove the settlers and settlements that is itself a road block to peace.

Any thoughts on the matter?

tomder55 answered on 10/20/03:

no ,I don't think it would be a good show of faith. It could be a negotiable item however ;say :the removal of the settlements if the Palestinians will forever give up the phony 'right of return' claim

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tonyrey asked on 10/19/03 - What is the world's most urgent priority?


tomder55 answered on 10/19/03:

1.environmental ,especially obtaining ,and preserving sufficient potable water .

2.feeding the people /population control

3.fighting terrorism and the march by anti-modernist religious fascist ideologies that force people to convert

4.disease control

1. is the most urgent

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tonyrey asked on 10/13/03 - How do you interpret the principle of equality?


tomder55 answered on 10/14/03:

We are universally BORN equal . After the moment of birth ,there are no guarantees . Madison in Federalist Papers #10 argued that the nature of society discourages the concept of egalitarianism.

'But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government. '

The Declaration of Independence stated that the PURSUIT of Happiness is an inalienable right ,not granting a guarantee of attainment.

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tonyrey asked on 10/11/03 - Why should we be concerned about evil and injustice on other planets?


tomder55 answered on 10/11/03:

that not being one of my most pressing concerns ;I guess we should be concerned that they are more technologically advanced ,and would eventually have the means to influence us.

My advice would be not to lose any sleep over it.

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ttalady asked on 10/10/03 - Wisdom

Rush Limbaugh admits his addiction to pain killers. He has had a really bad month in life, beyond norm for many stars. He has millions, he has a voice that many that agree or do not, but they listen to him. He made a mental choice to become an addict. He tried twice before to quit, he gave up on himself both times.

The man was a fool with millions of dollars. A fool that many listen to and will again. Rush found some of his wisdom in coming clean and accepting his foolishness. He just might be on the road of being truely wise in his words, in his life, in his people that believe in him. He has a long road though.

Hank, the most wise people you give credit to can and most likely are the most foolish people in life. Whether it be $, whether it be as I see it in looking up to another. Humanity allows both, no limitations!

Open discussion, state your opinions, believes, thought please!


tomder55 answered on 10/10/03:

I truly understand how someone even as strong willed as Rush seems to be can become addicted to pain killers . The fact that he now choses to go to rehab or that he cofessed his addiction to his audience though is not admirable by itself. I leave it to each individual to determine if his claim of trying to get off them by himself is real .It appears to me however that he would not be making this attempt now unless it helped him in his defense of whatever charge the Florida prosecutor is compiling.

Rush in all truth should have shown the same compassion in his public statements about other addicted individuals that he seems to expect from his listening audience(even though he went out of his way to claim he was not seeking any).Perhaps now ,he will be able to better understand the challenge that addiction represents ,and he will tame some of his holier than thou attitudes about it.

I wish him success in his rehabilitation attempts .I am sure he has the means to hire the best attorney to fight what appears to be a very serious pending drug trafficing charge . More than your average junkie anyway.

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ttalady asked on 10/08/03 - Nature vs Man kind

The recent inncodent with Sengfrid and Roy, well Roy having the inncodent! I applaud for not having the animal distroyed! I applaud all for dealing with the issue as a human vs nature. There is a respect let alone a balance of man kind to nature/animal. Roy is in my prayers.

My thought is that man kind carries that of ideas, passion, feelings. Nature/animals carry that of fact, will, yet understanding. Nature has a will that is far beyond our reach. The will to survive as one and live to the fullest. Nature holds the secrets to fact!

Man kind tests nature constantly. To see what it will bring us to see what it will do, to see if it does hold fact in it being. How often we forget how powerful yet beautiful it is. I find it can be best understood in experiancing it.

A city just south of me is going to try birth control on the deer population. These are your basic, do not kill an animal but I am sick of them eating on my shrubs. Now they decide to kill it another way let alone have absolutely no understanding of nature. Their area is well over populated with deer, beyond what a normal country area is let alone a city. Their moral standings are "Do not shoot the deer, let's put them on birth control so we can control their lifes".

A true hunter does not shoot to kill but shoots to provide meat. The beauty of nature is never held below that of the need to kill something. The understanding of hunting is to complete cycles of life. Never in a gated area, with God above allowing you to feed or not. Hunting is a very religious course in life.

My point/question, who the heck has the right to CONTROL another beings life yet will not let another just complete the cycle of life? We are not one with nature, man kind, we are a separate entity of such however have much to do with the cycle of life.

As I contemplate on my morals standing of being a beef eater I still understand how responsible it is of man kind to be that of a hunter. To spend time with nature and honestly see what it is all about is a gift of life and one to be taught.

What are your opinions on my point of views?

tomder55 answered on 10/09/03:

Human action is the cause of the overpopulation problem of deer . We encroach on their natural habitat ,and we have eliminated their natural predators . Therefore it is necessary for us to also control the deer population . I leave it to the scientist to determine if birth control is effective . I have no problem with organized hunts to cull the population . Responsible hunters consume the game they kill or the slaughtered deer could be donated to shelters or other charities for distribution . Deer meat is excellent ,and leaner than your typical beef steak.

The cow by contrast may have been raised in un-Godly inhumane conditions . The deer while alive roamed free ,and it's fate is very consistant with the "circle of life" . It was born to consume vegetation ,and to be consumed by a carnivor .

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Jon1667 asked on 10/03/03 - Limbaugh and Logic

The Rush Limbaugh fracas has touched on logic on another board. Limbaugh, you know, commented on the reaction to his remark that black football players were given a free pass by the media by saying, "If I hadn't been right, there would not have been all this outrage." On the board I was referring to, Limbaugh is accused of not only racism but of the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent (yet!). (I think his argument is construed as something like this: If I hadn't been right, then, there would not have been all this outrage. But there was all this outrage. So, I must have been right.) And, of course, Dark Crow's favorite fallacy, the strawman, has raised its empty head. Is Rush a bad logician as well as being a conservative? And, which is worse, anyway?

tomder55 answered on 10/03/03:

Rush is right about McNabb . He is over rated . That is a football fact ,all figures indicate that he is mediocre . he is young, and could get better ,but the fact remains that currently he ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack . That of course is not the only measure of success. Mediocre players on a team sport can achieve. Brad Johnson won the Superbowl last year ,and he is no better or worse than MaNabb . However ,everyone recognizes Johnson as a mediocre player who's defense was primarily responsible for his teams success .

Rushes 2nd point ,that the media has a stake in McNabb's success is also valid .
The lack of successful Black QB's and head coaches has been a sensitive point to the NFL for years ,and the sports media has made it a big issue. Just last week ,when the Jets coach and owner had a public spat ,the NFL Commisioner was quick to intervene.
The NFL has black QB's on many teams now . Some are good ,and some stink. No different than the white QBs . None of the black QBs have achieved as yet anything deserving the moniker of "great". Given time ,McNabb, Vick,Culpepper may fulfill their potential.Only McNair in Tennessee has taken a team from the beginning of the season to the Super Bowl . Only Williams ,coming in to replace the injured starter has won a Super Bowl. But why should the color of the athlete be a factor at all? The only thing an NFL fan cares about is that their team wins .

Rush was hired by ESPN to take controversial positions . Why was everyone suprised that he did ? His only fault in this case is that he was not p.c.; Something you can evidently get aways with on radio ,but not on the Corportate dominated television media. He resigned because he saw the writing on the wall . Boycott of program sponsors ,pressure on his broadcast peers to disassociate themselves to his position were sure to follow . Right away ,the charge of racisim was levelled . All Rush was saying was that inspite of everyones deepest desires ;McNabb is no Jackie Robinson.

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ttalady asked on 09/24/03 - The cow and the coward

How I came up with that title, well I just did. Honestly I do not know where this posting belongs, relationships, spiritual, farming, ect.

I watched the most beautiful site in the world today. A calf being born. It was early morning on my way to work and witnessed a miracle. I had to pull over and just watch. I did not want to leave but time soon ran short for "punching" in.

I came back the same way to notice the baby feeding off the Momma, the calf on all fours and just knew where to get the food and not too far from that Momma and baby was yet another Momma and baby. This baby having been born not all that long ago by the looks of it's coat. They must have some sort of communication or is it beyond that?

Tomorrow both babies shall be gone. On the other side of the road, in the same pen as the other babies, as the Mothers just look at them and wonder why? The hardest yet was seeing the baby in the pen on the back of a gulf cart and the Momma crying out following the baby.

I know why this happens, I understand why this is done, however I question myself on what is right and wrong in this. I am a hyprocrit to feel as I do yet practice as I do. I can drink milk, more than I should, however I could never take the baby away from a Mother. I eat meat (filet mignon, yummy) however could never butcher the cow. I even eat veal however temor when seeing a young bull tied to the side of a barn. I love venison however could never have the guts to shoot one myself, bf does the dirty work on that. I catch fish, help in cleaning them, however feel bad for them before their end.

Is it not possible that what we do in life, how we live life, how we preceive life to be all for the fact of finding ourselves and living with ourself? To accept others as they are however to finally accept ourselves as we are? Or am I just a hypocrit?

I know I could never live on just lettuce, even so that is killing a living thing. I am just having a hard time understanding how I can relate to such and give fact, reason to such. Then again, can you give reason?

BF always tells me, "You think too much", but is that possible? I am so easy to find the obvious however this is one I can not find, only an excuse!

Any help out there?

tomder55 answered on 09/25/03:

God has blessed us with these incredible renewable resources.( Ted Nugent).
Don't over-think it . Humans ;when all is said and done ;are part of the food chain. When we expire ,something is going to eat our empty shell.

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ElizabethOrient2000 asked on 09/22/03 - Hypothetical Speaking

What do you think was the first philosophical question?

tomder55 answered on 09/23/03:


Jon1667 asked on 09/18/03 - For all despisers of America a little balance from an Arab

Click here to access the article:

Brought to you courtesy of FOREIGN POLICY, the magazine of global politics, economics and ideas. Subscribe to FP now for more tough-minded analysis and original perspectives and save over 34% off the cover price! Learn more about FP at

tomder55 answered on 09/19/03:

thanks for the excellent article .

In return I give you this optomistic article from 'National Review' today :

Jon1667 asked on 09/16/03 - Proverbs

And love conquers all, and a stitch in time saves nine.
And, oh yes, many hands make light work, but too many cooks spoil the broth.

Let's get down to real philosophy!

tomder55 answered on 09/16/03:

He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.

chekhovToo asked on 09/12/03 - War on Terror

Can the "war on terror" actually be won. If so how if not why? I am interested what ideas you have about this.

tomder55 answered on 09/12/03:

It would be almost impossible to stop every Ted Kaczynski type nut job who has a bug up their butt.
The war on terror is a misnomer. If we were not trying to be p.c. then we would call it for what it is ;a war against a fundamentalist Islam ideology that declared war on us in the early 80s ,and we did not wake up to that reality until 9/11/01 . To answer if a war against a radical ideology can be won ,the answer is yes . Communism ,and Fascism were defeated by the combined forces of military ,and superior ideas .The war is being won ,but we have to realize that we are in a war that is for keeps ,we cannot waver in our resolve .It could ,and probably will take years to conclude .

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ttalady asked on 09/05/03 - Is this, "respect" justified, the truth?

"Paul Hill executed in Florida"

"Now this may seem off the wall but I have respect for Paul Hill in one sense. He did the deed and accepted his fate. He never blamed another, he made his own choice which brought him to having others bring him to his fate.

I am as well anti-abortion however I find no cure in the issue with killing another. It defeats the purpose of being Pro-life! What he did was wrong, wrong by his God, wrong by his people, however I find it somewhat to be respected that he kept his blame.

I read true crime books. I read the disgusting things people do to control another, to harm another, to kill another. I also read on how these people get off time and time again. To plead insanity, to just know a higher up in the legal system, to manipulate to kill. I believe Paul was far from a killer, he murdered, however he is far from the scum we have in this world. He lived by his belief, killed by his belief, and was put to death by his belief. Atleast the man stuck to his belief as where others have none.

Osama, a man of belief? I do not think so. A man that sends out others that believe in him to do his dirty work. Osama only taking responsibility for the act of others, to make it a joint effort, therefore how could he ever be harmed legally or that by his Lord for such acts. He never did them!

Paul Hill did the harm, he paid for the harm, however I respect him in the way he paid. He stood and accepted what he did. 95% of humanity does not do that these days and we wonder why there is such chaios!"

So would this be called truth, justified, what would one call this? A mind thought this, much is factual, much is based on belief and feeling. Is this truth, justified, or nonsenses?

You asked questions I had to give something to think about, same topic, same ideal, relate!

tomder55 answered on 09/07/03:

For him to call himself pro-life ,and then kill an abortionist is hypocracy.
I respect him as much as I respect the 9/11 terrorists .

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denberg asked on 09/02/03 - Is Marxism rubbish?

I've already tried out this question in the business/economics section and the consensus seems to be Yes, it is. No one can think of any uses for it in the business world or the world's economies.
Can anyone think of any other uses for it?

tomder55 answered on 09/03/03:

yes it is rubbish ,unless of course you are into population control . then you can use it to forge great social experiments that fail ,and kill off millions of people in the attempt.

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ethical_reason asked on 08/28/03 - Do you think AIDS exists?

So, a friend of mine at work has AIDS (or maybe not =)
He was diagnosed with AIDS like 9 years ago and for 2 years did nothing about it. And then for 5 years he took AZT. Then he did a bunch of research and decided it was all a hoax and stopped taking AZT for 2 years now. He has never felt better in his life and he's never been healthier and never looked better. That's not proof or anything. =)

Anyhow, so he gave me a video which was as biased as pro-AZT videos are and any video that insists the existence of AIDS is true. So, it's hard to trust it. But if they are telling the truth it is hard to deny. Who knows if they are telling the truth?

One of the biggest pieces of evidence by Peter Duesberg was that HIV is a retrovirus and a retrovirus has never and can never damage t-cells. In fact they would have the opposite effect. Another idea is that the proof of AIDS in the system is
Pneumonia - HIV = pneumonia
Pneumonia + HIV = AIDS

If that's true it's bullshit scientific method. But who knows if it is true.

This Dusberg fellow says that the normal association of AIDS making one sick is actually a lifestyle issue more often than not. The AIDS affect of one being sick actually often comes from people using drugs that lead to what would be seen as the sickness from the AIDS infection. So, giving people ready access to needles is therefore making things worse.

And obviously the motivation is big business for the drug companies.

Anyhow, there's a lot more info on these sites:

So, what do you guys think? Does AIDS exist or is it a huge hoax?

tomder55 answered on 08/28/03:

"As recent experience with AIDS in Africa shows, some countries in stage two are simply overwhelmed when a new threat appears. While industrial countries have held HIV infection rates among their adult populations under 1 percent or less, a 1998 World Health Organization survey reports that in Zimbabwe, for example, 26 percent of the adult population is HIV positive. In Botswana it is 25 percent, Zambia 20 percent, Namibia 19 percent, and Swaziland 18 percent.

Barring a miracle, these societies [the hardest hit African countries] will lose one fifth or more of their adult population within the next decade from AIDS alone."

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Jon1667 asked on 08/28/03 - Conspiracy theories

There have been conspiracies. For instance, the assassination of Lincoln was the result of a conspiracy.
But, the term, "conspiracy theory" is often used dyslogistically ("negatively") to imply that the theory is false: As for instance, when people say that the view that the murder of JFK was not the doing of a lone assassin, but part of a larger plot, is a "conspiracy theory."

What is a conspiracy theory, and what is its "logic?"

tomder55 answered on 08/28/03:

yes ,the term is used when someone readily dismisses the idea that a conspiricacy exists or existed . An open minded person must consider the possibility . However ,taken to the extreme ,a conspiracy theorist sees conspiracy behind every rock . They believe there is a cult of power passed on from generation to generation that controls the information ,and the historical record .This cult not only strives to have dictatorial control of the world ,but in fact has already succeded in getting it. They see evil motives and hidden agendas in almost any event.If nothing else ,it makes for some great fiction .

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Dark_Crow asked on 08/21/03 - no more talk of road-maps and peace

And then, of course, there is the murder of scores of Israelis on a bus in Jerusalem, after the murder organisations had promised a truce. I suppose that the strain of refraining from murdering Jews became too much for them, and they buckled under it. Let us hope there will be no more talk of road-maps and peace processes.
The above quote by jon brought to mind how things are progressing with the George W. Bush "roadmap" for peacethe step-by-step outline of Palestinian measures, Israeli concessions, and international monitoring, which is to culminate in the establishment of an independent, democratic Palestinian state by the year 2005.

Many claimed U.S. victory over Saddam would open the way to a revived peace process that it would create a moment of opportunity, because of the domino effect it would have in, not only the mid-east but around the world. By Ephraim Halevys version of the domino theory, all the pieces would fall in the right direction. Iran and Syria, without Saddam to unite them, would draw apart, creating an independent Lebanon free of terror, and paving the way for a comprehensive peace in the region.

Maj.-Gen. Amos Gilad, Israel's official "national commentator" on the war, who went so far as to describe the war plans as a miracle cure-all for everything from Israeli security to economic woes.
The American media at times went even further, suggesting that the whole point of the war was to eliminate the Iraqi threat to Israel.

At least one kool head saw through all the wild speculation, Lieut.-Gen. Moshe ("Bugi") Ya'alon, the Israeli chief of staff, kept Israel's strategic environment in focus. Ya'alon said, ------"Iraq's capabilities are shallow compared to what they were in the Gulf war. They are not capabilities that give me sleepless nights Obviously we have to prepare for the possibility that they will launch a missile but the threat itself is _limited_. It might be unpleasant, but not terrible." And another time "The Iraqi threat does not keep me up at night it does not pose an existential threat to the State of Israel."

With the attack on the U.N. based in Iraq, the oil pipeline, the water supply, and, by all other evidence, it seems the toppling of Hussein has only so far added fuel to terrorism, and the road map to peace is really a road map to hell. Perhaps the way to fight our war on terrorism should be re-thought.

tomder55 answered on 08/25/03:

The Palestinians lost the last intifadeh, which is why they asked for a ceasefire. And they will lose the next. The difference is, this time it will be Israel's intifadeh. And America won't be there to stop it. In fact, the United States will be rooting Israel on.That will be a welcome rethinking .

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Jon1667 asked on 08/23/03 - Famous Last Words

Without comment: In the New York Times of August 24, we read the following:

"One of my colleagues, as he was pulling de Mello out of the rubble (of the bombing of the United Nations Mission in Baghdad) heard his last words: 'Don't let them pull the U.N. out of Iraq. Don't let them fail this mission.' said Benon V. Sevan, executive director of the United Nations oil for food program."

tomder55 answered on 08/24/03:

Under no circumstances should any Muslim or sane person resort to the United
Nations. The United Nations is nothing but a tool of crime.
Osama bin Laden, November 3, 2001
Killing this group of people pursuing a humanitarian mission demonstrated the terrorists
motives. They really are at war with the civilized world.

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tonyrey asked on 08/15/03 - Beauty

What is beauty? Does it have any significance? If so, what?

tomder55 answered on 08/16/03:

of course it does . every culture defines it differently,and then individuals strive to meet ,and
measure up to that definition. there is usually some rewards for beautiful people

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Choux asked on 08/06/03 - I'm So Disgusted Today

...this is the last straw! Is there any help for American men? Can they find meaning to their lives outside sex and alcohol??? Can the duds at least be removed from media coverage. And, how can we tell them that they are total AH's??

There is a golf out-ing near Chicago where strippers are positioned around the course. And, they can putt through their cleavage on some greens.

I'm so disgusted I don't even want to go on!! A world full of terrorists, jaded fat guys, stupid religions, dictators, AK 47's AND I understand that the English are becoming more and more like us!!

I'm so disgusted...

tomder55 answered on 08/07/03:

the good news is that throughout America there are 10,000 decent good guys for every a~hole
the bad news is there used to be 25,000-1

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picassocat asked on 08/02/03 - An Historical Example of God's Existence or Powerlessness.

Does the Holocaust mean that God does not exist, or else is powerless?

tomder55 answered on 08/04/03:

(see the Book of Job)
Satan is no equal to God, for God is supreme. He sets the limits to how far Satan can go. He does give Satan the authority to test within those limits. Who is responsible for the tragedies of man? Is it God for allowing Satan the freedom to test him, or is it Satan, for he is the one who actually carries test? However ,God is the supreme authority so that even Satan can only operate by his permission. There is great evil that results from this permission to do that which God would never do. If God allows others to do what God would never do, we have to conclude God considers some other values greater than the prevention of all evil. If God can prevent evil but choses not to , either God is not good, or God permits evil for a greater good;that greater good being freedom.

God gave Satan freedom to do what was evil. Just as He gave man the freedom to do what was evil. If God is willing to let evil exist for the sake of freedom, then freedom has to be one of the greatest values . When God made Adam and Eve He also gave them freedom to do evil. He warned them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but He gave them freedom to do so. He could have easily prevented it but did not. Evil existed before man. Freedom is really the basic source of all evil, and it is the most treasured value of God and man. Since God created everything that is, and said it is very good, even Satan was made good. God could have prevented evil very simply by withholding the gift of freedom. God may have created other worlds for all I know where there is no evil because there is no freedom. There could be worlds where all is beautiful and not one sin because all of the beings that inhabit it are programed to do only what is good.It is nice to imagine that kind of world ,but we live in a real world. Here there is life and love and loyalty. But there is also sin and evil and death because of the freedom of will. Those who think God controls all that happens in this world have a misconception of the value of this freedom . It must means everything to God to have free willed beings to relate to. Their love and obedience is priceless, because they are freely given, and not the automatic response due to programing.

Where there is no alternative there is no freedom. The person who choses evil is the one responsible for it.

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Choux asked on 07/27/03 - I Believe America

has an ethical and/or political responsibility to help Liberia rescue itself from total barbarity.

Am I wrong in my thinking?

tomder55 answered on 07/28/03:

We have neither an ethical or a political responsibility . We go there on a humanitarian mission based on our own sense of right ,some pressure from our "allies " in Europe ,and Condi Rice's interpretation of the Bush doctrine . (poverty is a breading ground for terrorism) . I think it is the right thing to do because we can make a positive difference there ,but I am concerned of over commitment of our forces. Let's face it ,no one is lining up at recruitment offices ,and there is no draft in the near term.

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Choux asked on 07/21/03 - I Need Some Help Understanding Something

I am confused over the following. If an individual creates an "imaginary" world and sells a lot of books, and lots of people read this book, then, they argue over the contents of the book as being logical, cite quotations to make a case, etc...well, what would that be called. That is, they are discussing something made up, and are trying to be logically consistent within this world. What is that called.

My problem is that since what they are arguing is not "real" as in reality.

Does the above fall under the definition of philosophy, logic, whatever.

tomder55 answered on 07/22/03:

I saw your Q in Christianity . Your point there is valid . They seem to get alot of mileage doing point and counterpoint verses. I can only speak for myself . When I use biblical verse it is usually to try to make a moral point. I guess in a way it melds into a philosophical point . I don't waste time picking apart the story line .The historical accuracy I leave to historians ,and archeologists . Clearly the important point is not whether Jesus lived to 30 or 33 years ,but what message was left behind.

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chekhovToo asked on 07/22/03 - "Illegal combatants" held in Guantanamo Bay

"Illegal combatants" held by US military guard in Guantanamo Bay for about 20 months, now faces a military tribunal and the possible death penalty.

How can any civilised society, that is the United States, justify that length of incarceration without even a charge and legal representation, let alone a trial?

Further, the term illegal combatants doesnt mean anything at international law, its a term used by the United States, they sometimes also say enemy combatant, I think essentially to evade the effect of international law thats relevant to prisoners of war. So its something that is favoured by the United States because they believe that using that term will avoid the effects, particularly of the Third Geneva Convention.

Please argue your case.

tomder55 answered on 07/22/03:

Under international law, it is lawful to hold both unlawful combatants and POWs until the armed conflict has ended. Once the war is declared ended, the U.S. will face an obligation of either charging detainees with crimes or returning them to their countries of origin.

How long were American POWs held in Vietnam?
We still do not have a final determination of their fate .

Has the war against al-qaeda ended ? No.

Is al-qaeda a signatory to the Geneva or Hague Conventions ? No.

A tribunal will be conducted to determine if a detainee committed war or other crimes .
The death penalty is a possibility for some . If so,I'm sure the punishment will fit the crime .

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chekhovToo asked on 07/20/03 - Is the Western Mind Closed?

Is the Western mind closed in the sense of an awareness and indeed understanding of the nuances of other cultures, ideas, politics, religion etc. I think the West can learn much from an engagement with the rest of the world and their ideas. What do you think?

tomder55 answered on 07/20/03:

in the United States ,I do not have to go far out of my home to observer other cultures ;especially here in N.Y.
Historically the West has been influenced by other cultures ,and has absorbed much of it . I'm not so sure that we are a stagnant culture
at all.

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Dark_Crow asked on 07/14/03 - EU-US Summit on June 25, the EU-US agreed on a doctrine of interdiction

At the recent EU-US Summit on June 25, the EU-US agreed on a doctrine of interdiction and authoritative prohibition of weapons of mass destruction across the globe.

Interesting how things play out; I wonder what motivated that and what might have been different had that agreement been made prior to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq--- as well as how they will apply it to Iran, which seems to be the next target.

tomder55 answered on 07/15/03:

I don't think it means that the E.U. is suddenly jumping aboard the Bush Doctrine train of preemptive actions . I still believe that the goals of the movers of the push to EU Federation are looking to create a counter to American sole Super Power status .

What I think this will mean for Iran is that the E.U will require Iran to accept tougher U.N. IAEA inspections or else !!!! ..........well ??? ....they will probably threaten them with a sanction program that can be easily violated by fellow members of the EU.and Iran.

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bluevision asked on 07/12/03 - All religions are good

What ethical_reason mentioned in his question to Chou is right. All religions teach people to be good, but the faulty leaders & their followers made the religions look bad. What happened in the Middle East & Northern Ireland are very good examples.
I believe the majority of Chritians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus etc are good people, although I can't say the same about the leaders of the respective religions.
Prejudiced generalizations are dangerous & would cause misunderstanding, uneasiness, ill-feeling, hatred or conflicts among the people of different religions.
Any unbiased thoughts?

tomder55 answered on 07/13/03:

Here is in the words of secular reform minded Muslims what Islam teaches it's followers

What the Qur'an Teaches Us:

We have used the most widely available English text of the
Qur'an and readers are welcome to verify our quotes from the
holy book. Please have an open mind and read through these
verses again and again. The following quotes are taken from the
most trusted Yusufali's translation of the Qur'an.

The Qur'an tells us: "not to make friendship with Jews and
Christians" (5:51), "kill the disbelievers wherever we find them"
(2:191), "murder them and treat them harshly" (9:123), "fight and
slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for
them in every stratagem" (9:5). The Qur'an demands that we
fight the unbelievers, and promises "If there are twenty amongst
you, you will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, you will
vanquish a thousand of them" (8:65).

Allah and his messenger want us to fight the Christians and the
Jews "until they pay the Jizya [a penalty tax for the non-Muslims
living under Islamic rules] with willing submission, and feel
themselves subdued" (9:29). Allah and his messenger announce
that it is acceptable to go back on our promises (treaties) and
obligations with Pagans and make war on them whenever we
find ourselves strong enough to do so (9:3). Our God tells us to
"fight the unbelievers" and "He will punish them by our hands,
cover them with shame and help us (to victory) over them"

The Qur'an takes away the freedom of belief from all humanity
and relegates those who disbelieve in Islam to hell (5:10), calls
them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (9:28), and orders its
followers to fight the unbelievers until no other religion except
Islam is left (2:193). It says that the "non-believers will go to hell
and will drink boiling water" (14:17). It asks the Muslims to "slay
or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers, that they
be expelled from the land with disgrace and that they shall have a
great punishment in world hereafter" (5:34). And tells us that "for
them (the unbelievers) garments of fire shall be cut and there shall
be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in
their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be
punished with hooked iron rods" (22:19-22) and that they not
only will have "disgrace in this life, but on the Day of Judgment
He shall make them taste the Penalty of burning (Fire)" (22:9).
The Qur'an says that "those who invoke a god other than Allah
not only should meet punishment in this world but the Penalty on
the Day of Judgment will be doubled to them, and they will dwell
therein in ignominy" (25:68). For those who "believe not in Allah
and His Messenger, He has prepared, for those who reject
Allah, a Blazing Fire!" (48:13). Although we are asked to be
compassionate amongst each other, we have to be "harsh with
unbelievers", our Christian, Jewish and Atheist neighbours and
colleagues (48:29). As for him who does not believe in Islam, the
Prophet announces with a "stern command": "Seize ye him, and
bind ye him, And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. Further, make
him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! This
was he that would not believe in Allah Most High. And would
not encourage the feeding of the indigent! So no friend hath he
here this Day. Nor hath he any food except the corruption from
the washing of wounds, Which none do eat but those in sin."
(69:30-37) The Qur'an prohibits a Muslim from befriending a
non-believer even if that non-believer is the father or the brother
of that Muslim (9:23), (3:28). Our holy book asks us to be
disobedient towards the disbelievers and their governments and
strive against the unbelievers with great endeavour" (25:52) and
be stern with them because they belong to Hell (66:9). The holy
Prophet prescribes fighting for us and tells us that "it is good for
us even if we dislike it" (2:216). Then he advises us to "strike off
the heads of the disbelievers" and after making a "wide slaughter
among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives" (47:4). Our
God has promised to "instil terror into the hearts of the
unbelievers" and has ordered us to "smite above their necks and
smite all their finger-tips off them" (8:12). He also assures us that
when we kill in his name "it is not us who slay them but Allah, in
order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from
Himself" (8:17). He orders us "to strike terror into the hearts of
the enemies" (8:60). He has made the Jihad mandatory and
warns us that "Unless we go forth, (for Jihad) He will punish us
with a grievous penalty, and put others in our place" (9:39). Allah
speaks to our Holy Prophet and says "O Prophet! strive hard
against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern against
them. Their abode is Hell - an evil refuge indeed" (9:73).

He promises us that in the fight for His cause whether we slay or
are slain we return to the garden of Paradise (9:111). In Paradise
he will "wed us with Houris (celestial virgins) pure beautiful ones"
(56:54), and unite us with large-eyed beautiful ones while we
recline on our thrones set in lines (56:20). There we are
promised to eat and drink pleasantly for what we did (56:19).
He also promises "boys like hidden pearls" (56:24) and "youth
never altering in age like scattered pearls" (for those who have
paedophiliac inclinations) (76:19). As you see, Allah has
promised all sorts or rewards, gluttony and unlimited sex to
Muslim men who kill unbelievers in his name. We will be
admitted to Paradise where we shall find "goodly things, beautiful
ones, pure ones confined to the pavilions that man has not
touched them before nor jinni" (56:67-71).

In the West we enjoy freedom of belief but we are not supposed
to give such freedom to anyone else because it is written "If
anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah),
never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be
in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good) (3:85).
And He orders us to fight them on until there is no more tumult
and faith in Allah is practiced everywhere (8:39).

As for women the book of Allah says that they are inferior to
men and their husbands have the right to scourge them if they are
found disobedient (4:34). It advises to "take a green branch and
beat your wife", because a green branch is more flexible and
hurts more. (38:44). It teaches that women will go to hell if they
are disobedient to their husbands (66:10). It maintains that men
have an advantage over the women (2:228). It not only denies
the women's equal right to their inheritance (4:11-12), it also
regards them as imbeciles and decrees that their witness is not
admissible in the courts of law (2:282). This means that a woman
who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce a
male witness. Our Holy Prophet allows us to marry up to four
wives and he licensed us to sleep with our slave maids and as
many 'captive' women as we may have (4:3) even if those
women are already married. He himself did just that. This is why
anytime a Muslim army subdues another nation, they call them
kafir and allow themselves to rape their women. Pakistani
soldiers allegedly raped up to 250,000 Bengali women in 1971
after they massacred 3,000,000 unarmed civilians when their
religious leader decreed that Bangladeshis are un-Islamic. This is
why the prison guards in Islamic regime of Iran rape the women
that in their opinion are apostates prior to killing them, as they
believe a virgin will not go to Hell.

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Jon1667 asked on 07/10/03 - Moslems, Freedom, and Virtue

What follows is, it seems to me, an important argument about freedom and virtue. I would be interested to hear comments:

U.S. needs to show Muslims the light

First published: Thursday, July 10, 2003

Behind the physical attacks on the West and its allies is an intellectual attack -- an assault not just on what America does but also on what America is.
So far, the Bush administration's military response -- in Afghanistan, in Iraq and elsewhere -- has been reasonably effective against al-Qaida and its sponsors. But our intellectual response has been weak. This matters, because ultimately it is not enough to shut down the terrorist camps. We must also stop the "jihad factories," the mosques and educational institutions that are turning out tens of thousands of aspiring suicide bombers. We cannot kill all these people; we have to change their minds. Yet America is making few converts in the Muslim world.

The problem is that we have not effectively answered the strongest version of the Islamic critique of the United States. Usually, Americans seek to defend their society by appealing to its shared principles. Thus, they say that America is a free society, or a prosperous society, or a diverse and pluralistic culture, or a nation that gives women the same rights as men. The most intelligent Islamic critics acknowledge all this, but they dismiss it as worthless triviality.

One of the leading theoreticians of Islamic fundamentalism is the Egyptian writer Sayyid Qutb. Qutb, who has been called "the brains behind bin Laden," argues that the West is a society based on freedom while the Islamic world is based on virtue. In his books Qutb argues as follows: Look at how badly freedom is used in the West. Look at the pervasive materialism, triviality, vulgarity and sexual promiscuity.

Islamic societies may be poor, Qutb says, but we are trying to implement the will of God. Qutb argues that Islamic laws are based on divine law, and God's law is necessarily higher than any human law. Virtue, Qutb insists, is a higher principle than freedom.

The Islamic critique as exemplified by Qutb is similar to the critique that the classical philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle, made of freedom. The classical thinkers would have agreed with him that virtue, not freedom, is the ultimate goal of a good society. And in saying this, they would be quite right.

How, then, can the Islamic argument against America be answered on its own terms?

Let us concede at the outset that in a free society, freedom will often be used badly. The Islamic critics have a point when they deplore our high crime and illegitimacy rates and the triviality and vulgarity of our popular culture. Freedom, by definition, includes freedom to do good or evil, to act nobly or basely. Thus, we should not be surprised that there is a considerable amount of vice, license and vulgarity in a free society. Given the warped timber of humanity, freedom becomes a forum for the expression of human flaws and weaknesses.

But if freedom brings out the worst in people, it also brings out the best. The millions of Americans who live decent, praiseworthy lives deserve our highest admiration because they have opted for the good when the good is not the only available option. Even amid the temptations that a rich and free society offers, they have remained on the straight path. Their virtue has special luster because it is freely chosen.

The free society does not guarantee virtue, any more than it guarantees happiness. But it allows for the pursuit of both, a pursuit rendered all the more meaningful and profound because success is not guaranteed but has to be won through personal striving.

By contrast, the authoritarian society that Islamic fundamentalists advocate undermines the possibility of virtue. If the supply of virtue is insufficient in free societies, it is almost nonexistent in Islamic societies, because coerced virtues are not virtues at all.

Consider the woman who is required to wear a veil. There is no modesty in this, because the woman is being compelled. Compulsion cannot produce virtue; it can only produce the outward semblance of virtue.

Indeed, once the reins of coercion are released, as they were for the 9/11 terrorists who lived in the United States, the worst impulses of human nature break loose.

Sure enough, the deeply religious terrorists spent their last days in gambling dens, bars and strip clubs, sampling the licentious lifestyle they were about to strike out against. In this respect they were like the Spartans, who -- Plutarch tells us -- were abstemious in public but privately coveted wealth and luxury.

In theocratic societies such as Iran, the absence of freedom signals the absence of virtue.

This is the argument that Americans should make to people in the Islamic world. It is a mistake to presume that Muslims would be unreceptive to it. Islam, which has common roots with Judaism and Christianity, respects the autonomy of the individual soul. Salvation for Muslims, no less than for Jews and Christians, is based on the soul's choosing freely to follow God.

We can make the case to Muslims that freedom is not a secular invention; rather, freedom is a gift from God. And because freedom is the necessary precondition for virtue, we can feel confident in asserting that our free society is not simply richer, more varied and more tolerant, it is also morally superior to the fundamentalists' version of Islamic society. Dinesh D'Souza is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the author of "What's So Great About America." This article first appeared in The Washington Post.

tomder55 answered on 07/11/03:

Having a free society does not guarantee virtue, any more than it guarantees happiness. It only allows for the pursuit of both.On the other hand , the authoritarian society that Islamic fundamentalists advocate undermines the possibility of virtue. If virtue is lacking in free societies, it is almost nonexistent in Islamic societies, because coerced or compelled virtues are not virtues at all. As an example Hussein mentioned the woman who is required to wear a veil. There is no modesty in this, because the woman is being compelled. Compulsion cannot produce virtue; it can only produce the outward appearance of virtue. Muslims suggest that salvation is based on the soul's choosing freely to follow God. We believe ,as Muslims should that freedom is not a secular invention or derived from some government or other collective decision but is a gift from God to the individual.

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chekhovToo asked on 07/05/03 - Does It Bother You?

A new & dangerous era in international relations, that of pre-emptive war, was justified by one of the biggest lies of modern history. Does it bother you that the Bush administration was telling lies about WMDs in Iraq?

tomder55 answered on 07/07/03:

Hans Blix[you remember him ;the one who told AP: "{SADDAM} was an ancient-type ruler who got control of a country with an oil income and could use 21st century weapons,". "That was a very dangerous combination, and I think we all feel a great relief that he is put out of action."]reported to the U.N on January 27 that 8,500 liters of anthrax were unaccounted for.

8,500 can be held in about 45 oil drums ;drums that were probably spread out in several different hiding places.If one contemplates how much damage a single teaspoon of anthrax caused in Washington, D.C., when it was spread through the mail in October of 2001 ,the United States was right to be worried about the enormous damage that a suitcase full of anthrax delivered by a small cell of terrorists might be.Our troops are not expecting to find huge warehouses of WMD . They are looking for materials that may be hidden in somebody's basement, behind a false wall, in a space the size of a clothes' closet. It could also have been transported out of Iraq in a couple of pick up trucks .Give them time !Don't forget ,an Iraqi scientist led U.S. troops to his garden where they unearthed a centerfuge that Saddam had ordered him to hide.

The Bush administration did not have the burden of proving that there were, or were not, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That burden fell on Saddam Hussein. (at least according to the sum of all the U.N. Resolutions ,and cease fire agreements he was bound to). Since Iraq was known by U.N. inspectors to have had many such weapons, and since the disposal of these weapons was not known to have happened ,the United States had no choice but to assume that they were still in existence.

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neo_the_one asked on 06/24/03 - How to live?

How to live?
After living on this planet I realized that we as humans didn't develop what I would call an Art Of Living. We develop many sciences and improved our lives, but there is no the most important course in my opinion Art Of Living so to speak. I lived here for 20+ years and I realized that I made many mistakes. They were based on inability to prioritised my values right, to decide what is the most important for me, to deal with change of values right, understanding the world and what is the world about. My parents are not bright and didn't teach me a lot about it. My teachers in school and universities weren't ambitious about it as well. I was told by my parents that the sense of life in earning money and spending them, that I need to be study to get a white collar job, because people who are blue collar are inferior and nobody respects them. I need to marry because everyone does so. And stuff like this. After connecting to the internet and reading alot of info on life, self-improvement and stuff like this, I realised that there is more to it. There really should be books on courses called smth like "How to live", "Doing what matters", "Dealing with values shifts optimally". Can you tell me if somebody feels the same way and if yes, what can we do to improve the situtation? What self-help books are good to answer my question "How to live?", because most books I saw deal with only a small part of the proble, like dealing with depression etc. I want to have a book on how to live in general, how to choose goals right for me, how to deal with value shifts, how to live optimally etc.? Do you think it would be a good idea for me to try to write a book on this if there is nothing on this available? I have a lot of thoughts and ideas on it, because it is kinda my first priority in my life, you know, to figure out this stuff, because even I IQ=140, it didn't help me to achieve anything, I almost destroyed my life and professional career because of no knowledge on the above mentioned topic.

tomder55 answered on 06/25/03:

there are no inferior people due to the job they do. Jesus was a carpenter ,and he changed thwe world .

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neo_the_one asked on 06/19/03 - Self-destruction as the next step of human evolution

Self-destruction as the next step of human evolution
I am doing an independent scientific work on self-destruction as the next step of human evolution. It interested me, because after living on this planet as human being and thoroughly analyzing this life and history of human evolution and development I realized that self-destruction is not our only solution to all the problems, but it is already happening in our society, mostly on unconscious level. But as long as humans will evolve farther, I think it will come up as the most logical solution. No animal commits suicide. More we become more intellectuall, more suicides are committed. More wars we have with more deaths. It is unconscious desire for self destruction. It will soon manifest as conscious desire.

If we analyze buddhism philosophy, we can wee that the goal of buddhism is reaching nirvana - a state, when your mind dissappear, or I would say self-destruct on small pieces, from which other minds would be constructed most probably, since we know from laws of physics that nothing is appears from nothing and dissapears from nothing. So basically an individual lives his life, develops into more advanced person both physically and intellectually, and at the end he realizes that he needs to dissappear. I felt this feeling by myself, which means I almost reached the ultimate understanding of my purpuse. I didn't even want to exist as a free spirit in a paradise. I really wanted to dissapear. This made me think about human evolution and its result. I think we will realize soon that self destruc is our way out of all the problems. We all launch all the atomic bombs to each other and ourselves to end this life. I think it is becoming clearer to everyone.

I think that's why nobody can find an answer to the question "What is the sense of life?", because the sense of it in ultimate death and our survival instincts reject it, on both conscious and unconscious level. But if we look at the life, we notice that it starts to have more and more problems that we can handle, it becomes more and more unpleasent world. We strive for survival and improvement of our lives, because our survival instincts stronger then intellect. Our intellect grows as the result of human evolution and it will soon become demise of itself. The more we become intellectual and less animal, the smarter we become and less survival oriented. We will become question the sense of life and more and more people will realize that it doesn't make sense to live the life with its present laws. There will be opening more and more institutions for painful stopping of lifes of people who understood the truth. Suicide will not be a problem, but solution for more and more people and the most logical solution for more people. With time we reach the stage of our evolution, when we all decide to self destruct, and since suicide institutions will be overcrowded, we self-destruct using atomic bombs or something similar, depending on what we invent in future.

I think the reason we cannot find extra terrestrial in space, because life span of intellectual individuals is limited not only by the availability of resources necessary for living, but intellectual growth to the ultimate realizing of the truth b ythe whole population, so it self desctruct even before it descovers means to travel fast through space and meet other civilizations.

I wonder whether I am the only one "enlightened" or are there other people like me, who realized the truth, but afraid to say it, because it will look unlogical to most people?

tomder55 answered on 06/20/03:

lighten up ..please

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neo_the_one asked on 06/19/03 - Removing the beggars

Removing the beggars
I am doing a research work on removing beggars from streets in large metropolitans. I want you to evaluate its sceleton, so I could continue with confidence that most people would support me. Here is what I thought over so far: "In large metropolitan areas people are usually shopping, going to theatres, walking with their loved ones etc. There is an atmosphere of happiness when you work on the streets of cities like Seattle, you feel happier in this environment. But the feeling dissapears and sometimes changes to a depression or similar feelings, when you see a beggar or hear how he asks you for change. It creates a feeling of hopelessness, because when you see such people, you create analogy with your life and you think that if there is so many beggars, maybe I will become one someday. It destroys an idealistic outlook at life, atmosphere of happiness of the people on Seattle streets in general. It destroys feeling of secutity and privacy, because nobody likes when somebody bothers them to give them change for some fuzzy reasons. It creates a feeling of guilt also, which can lead to depression and low self-esteem. Another reason for removing beggars would be a specific smell they have, it is usually of unwashed clothes or in some cases urine. These scents are known to create negative feelings in people's minds, like dissatisfaction, anxiety, irritability. Since happiness is the most valuable human value, we need to think about ways of removing beggars from Seattle streets. To do this we can figutr out the reason of some people to beg and eliminate the reason or to use a goverment institutions that are responsible for this, if they are". Since I am not aware of USA laws on this, I would like you to give me advice how I could continue my work and what can you advice me about this work in general. I am also unaware why some people would beg and I am too shy to ask them. Your thoughts? I think these reasons could be removable. Depression - antidepressants. Laziness - willpower training excersises. Mental problems - mental hospital. Husband left with children - police, goverment aid for left wives. Disability - goverment disability aid.

tomder55 answered on 06/19/03:

why shouldn't the poor and needy beg for my money ?the rich and the powerful do.

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ttalady asked on 06/13/03 - If you were speaking for the US?

If you had the ultimate say in the Isreal/Palestinian conflict, what would you do?

This would be as in doing for the US, that the peace talks did not work (as they are not looking good), and that the whole situation is as it is now. Men and women still over seas, the media's thrashings, and most of all the protection of the US!

You are President! What is your position and decision?

tomder55 answered on 06/14/03:

If I was Prez. I would use Iraq as a base of operations to influence the region . I would concentrate on finishing the job in Iraq . That job is rebuilding the country into a modern 21st century plural society that rejects the governance of Batthist Nazi's ,failed Socialism and radical Islamists .

I would stick to the Bush Doctrine ,and be consistent and unambiguous in my support of Israel ,and those Palestinians who are sick and tired of scum terrorists derailing the peace process .

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Dark_Crow asked on 06/13/03 - moral justification for supporting dictatorships

I have heard the US has in the past funded, and or allowed American manufactures to sell weapons outright, or on credit, to brutal dictatorships.

Is that a fact? If it is, whats the moral justification for doing so?

Hannity on Fox spun the hell out of this question by a guest, and never answered it

tomder55 answered on 06/14/03:

There is no moral justification ,but politics is frequently not moral . Was the U.S. justified in aligning itself with the Soviet Union over the common enemy of Nazi Germany ? I believe so . It did not make the assumption that we subscribe to Stalinism .Are we justified in supporting Russia now against the "terrorist" Cheznians ?Probably not.

For many years the U.S. was bound to a Kissinger style 'realpolitik', which in a nutshell is a ruthlessly realistic and opportunist approach to statesmanship, rather than a moralistic one. This brought us nonsense like undermining(assassinating) Allende and supporting Pinochet .Then again we allied with dictators like Marcos , and Palavi .Have there countries been better served by their departure ? Not really .

I prefer moral clarity ,like the Bush doctrine on terrorism ,but even in this case where there seemed to be little delineation between right and wrong ,we see in practice as it is applied to Palestine ,that there are still those gray areas to contend with.

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Choux asked on 06/12/03 - Anti-Intellectualism v. Critical Thinking

I want to apologize to Jon1667(etal) because I gradually misunderstood the meaning of critical thinking. I began to understand that in the year 2003 that it meant arguing over minor details, nit-picking if you will. However, I read an article last night that put much of my confusion to rest. I am and always have been in the camp that demands ideas, etc. be evaluated thoroughly and not accepted by blind faith. Wishfull thinking has no place in my world.

Future questions to follow regarding stuff.

tomder55 answered on 06/12/03:

Blind Faith is immoral .

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo Galilei

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." --1 Peter 3:15

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Dark_Crow asked on 06/10/03 - to which should I go?

I came home and found a note from my wife, in it was written -----------Urgent, meet me at the Bank, its imperative you be there at precisely 12 noon.

Now, here is the circumstances, its now 10 minutes until noon------ the River Bank is mile to the east and the Bank where we have our checking and savings is mile to the west, there is only enough time to go to one or the other, to which should I go?

tomder55 answered on 06/10/03:

I would dare to extrapolate and surmise that she meant for me to go to the bank that your accounts are at . I wouldn't let the lack of clarity paralyze me.

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Choux asked on 06/07/03 - "C'est n'est pas logique!"

From an article in this weeks NEWSWEEK Magazing about French Logic versus Anglo-Saxon(American and Brit)logic/and the War in Iraq.

A French engineer looked at a new invention that functioned quite well, then shook his head sadly, "The facts are all right," he said, "but it won't work in theory."

The anerican way of thinking, on the other hand, mormally starts with facts, then makes the theories fit. Thus the logic of war presented by President George W. Bush and seconded by Blair was perfectly straightforward. Fact: Saddam had weapons of mass destruction he could use on 45 minutes notice. Fact: Saddam harbored AlQaeda terrorists who ight be given those weapons of mass destruction. Fact: Rogue dictator Saddam posed a clear and present danger to the US---security had to be addressed immediately. Any delay would have brought dooms day closer.

Even France's revered 17th century philosopher Rene Descaretes would have found such reasoning irrefutable Cognito ergo boom!

Except not, with most of the shooting stoppedand Iraq occupied, the facts that justified war are not so clear, nor even present.

Bait and switch?


tomder55 answered on 06/08/03:

let's see now . The CIA,the National Security Office,the State Dept.
,George Bush,Tony Blair,Colin Powell,the U.N. Security Council ,Hans Blix among others
all believed that Iraq has WMD. Too many people involved in this conspiracy if you ask me .

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Dark_Crow asked on 06/07/03 - top of the food chain?

Religion has failed to curb mans urge to power as I believe, many have hoped it would. Marx hoped for the same thing through a new Economics------elimination of private property. But should we even be trying to curb it, isnt it tied to the will to survive and the very cause of mans evolving to the top of the food chain?

tomder55 answered on 06/08/03:

Humans should try to contribute to the full extent of their potential. But we should know our limitations .
I would not strive to be the CEO of the company I work for ,and am content to give my best efforts at the positions I am best suited for.
So not all humans fit the description above .
However in general it is in our nature to dominate .
In Genesis we learn that God gave dominion to man of the Earth.God expects us to use it's resources ,but also to be caretakes and maintain the planet.

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Jon1667 asked on 06/07/03 - Self-interest

Many philosophers have argued that self-interest, ("self-love") and even that selfishness is the basic human motivation. One of the arguments for this is that whenever anyone does anything, it is because that person _wants_ to do that thing, and, therefore, everyone acts from his own desires. And, as Adam Smith argues, it is a good thing that people are so motivated.

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages."

"The Wealth of Nations"

What do you think? Are, as some like to say, "all men selfish?"

tomder55 answered on 06/08/03:

Too many humans make acts of sacrifice for me to believe that these are acts of a selfish nature .Some yes;but to say that all actions are motivations for self gratification belittles the gesture.

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Dark_Crow asked on 05/31/03 - sorry but the software won't let me respond in the same question

The Washington Times reported last week that the Army is investigating the incident under orders from Brig. Gen. Howard Bromberg. Bush says he will take guidance from the United States military, "Our commanders will make those decisions,----

At least the door is open for a possible change.

But even putting that aside, as I do, because no matter the findings it will be spun by both sides of the issue and wont be considered as any kind of proof [as it should be] to the question in question; should women be used in forward combat troop commands.

tomder55 answered on 06/01/03:

here is the difference ,in West Point, a male cadet must complete the obstacle course in 3:30
minutes;a women in 5:30.A male in 2 minutes must do 72 push-ups in 2 minutes;a women 48
.Scores on all physical fitness tests are "gender-normed">Physical requirements throughout the
military have been changed to accomodate.

In 'The kinder gentler Military'(Stephanie Guttman) it says that the harsh demands of basic
training have been watered down to make it more female friendly.A commission conducted for
the Dept. of Defense concluded that basic training should be separate because integrated
training led to less discipline ,less unit cohesion ,and more distractions from training programs .

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Dark_Crow asked on 05/31/03 - Women get out!

What kind of father, fearing an intruder had entered his basement in the night, would send his teenage daughter down to investigate?

In January 1994, Clintons Secretary Les Aspin eliminated the so-called "risk rule" that barred women from military ground support units whose members faced a "substantial risk of capture."
An engagement that took place in Nasiriyah, Iraq, on March 23 and three young American women, all members of the Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Co., became casualties. Did the women at Nasiriyah help or hinder their unit's chances?

I doubt even the most committed feminist would tell her husband to sit back, relax and watch Leno on the couch, while sending their 19-year-old daughter downstairs to see what had gone bump in the night.

I say we need to get women out of combat units, so much for women to be allowed to dominate culture going forward.

tomder55 answered on 06/01/03:

good question . Did the Iraqi lawyer hike six miles in the desert to inform the U.S that Jessica Lynch was being held in the hospital due to a sense of chivalry ?Did the U.S. Special Forces attempt a daring rescue of her ,and risk their lives because of her sex? Was the rescue hyped for the same reason?
A Maintenance unit is a support division ,and not a combat one ,but in modern warfare frontline positions are not as well defined as they were in the past .An honest review of the policy would have to conceed that non-combat units are potentially at the same risk as combat units .They would therefore need to be trained for combat as well. They should be required to take the same basic ,and advanced combat ,and survival training at the very least .

I have to admit that I still have enough chauvinism left in me to shudder at the fact that one of Lynch's companions that was found buried in a shallow grave was the mother of a child . Unless our nation is in immediate peril ,it is unconscionable to require mothers ,or both parents of young children to serve in a dange zone .

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chekhovToo asked on 05/29/03 - Where Did God Come From

If for arguments sake there is a God, where did He come from and who made him and why?

tomder55 answered on 05/29/03:

something would have always had to have been . That something is God .

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Choux asked on 05/26/03 - Buddhist Wisdom

When you see a truck bearing down on you, jump out of the way, but spend time in reflection, too. Learning to deal with discomfort is the only way youll be redy to handle the truck you didn't see.

paraphrase B H Gunaratana

tomder55 answered on 05/27/03:

I jump out of the way ,then give the driver a Bronx salute .

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Dark_Crow asked on 05/22/03 - It's just the way it is.

In reading the following letter something stood out that raised my immediate attention.

Is there anything that is just the way it is, for example in the following quote; The different ways Black people speak are not taught. It's just the way it is.?

I feel this is possibly one of the worst editorials The State News has printed since I started reading it. I am referring to the editorial on Ebonics (SN 1/10). When I first read it, I was pissed. Then, my friend, Beth told me that The State News doesn't actually believe in the group editorials it prints. She said you just write heated, controversial articles to piss people like me off and have us all writing in and telling more people to read. That pissed me off even more. Truthfully I thought the whole ploy was clever, since it works and I'm writing this letter. But really, it's disgusting and insulting, and I'm incredibly offended.

How dare The State News imply that Black parents teach their children to say things such as "nut'in" and "dis," and that they "know no other language." Let me just inform all the white people who put this ideocracy in the paper. I am Black and neither my parents, nor any other Black parents, have ever instructed their children to speak improperly. This so-called Black English that everyone is talking about is non-existent. I don't speak another language from my white friends. When I say something to them, they understand me perfectly. The different ways Black people speak are not taught. It's just the way it is.

I'm sure history and linguistics majors know that when you have Southern people who don't speak "proper" English teaching Africans with entirely different language structures how to speak English, it is not going to be pretty. And since Blacks were not allowed an education, how were they supposed to speak properly?

Regardless of education, Black people have always spoken this way. It's not wrong, it's a part of our culture. Black children are not confused by standardized English. They accept it and use it in appropriate situations. Why should I speak the same way around my friends as I do with one of my professors? There is a time and place for everything. This is what Black children are taught by their parents.

The State News ought to document its editorials with facts before it goes rambling on. Maybe you should have talked to some Black parents or Black students and really asked about Black English. It should not be compared to Spanish. That's ridiculous. This whole editorial was ridiculous.

As I told my friend, Beth, I don't know why The State News wrote what it did, but I know that writing horrible falsehoods about Black culture will surely make me a less avid reader.

Ivy Janai Reeves

journalism freshman

tomder55 answered on 05/23/03:

Vocabulary is necessary for success . I think it important that dialect does not limit a persons future prospects . One should try to expand their vocabulary whenever possible .It is negligence by any school system that does not emphasis this basic fact .

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Choux asked on 05/21/03 - Real Life Example of Post Modernism?

Recently in a wealthy suburb of Chicago high school senior girls hazed volunteer high school junior girls. Originally, the event started out as a powder puff football game many years ago.

The activities included throwiing pig entrails on the juniors, rubbing feces from a nursing home on the girl's faces and elsewhere, urine dousing, hitting, punching, and other abuses.

The outcome in the modern world would have been that those girls responsible would have been punished by their parents and that would have been it.

Now, the senior girl's rich parents have hired lawyers. They are suing the school district for suspending the worst offenders. A junior girl's lawyer is suiing a senior girl for damages. Senior girls lawyers are suing junior girls....on and is laughable. Almost as laughable as Bill Bennett, a writer of 11 books on Morality, admitting he lost 8 million dollars at casinos.

No one has apologized for anything. lol

It's a post moderm world, yeah?

tomder55 answered on 05/22/03:

I come home in the morning light
My mother says when you're gonna live your life right
Oh mother dear we're not the fortunate ones
And girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun

The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father yells what you're gonna do with your life
Oh daddy dear you know you're still number one
But girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have..

That's all they really want - Some fun
When the working day is done
Girls.. they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun

Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun

Cyndi Lauper

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moo_016 asked on 05/21/03 - Postmodernism

Would anyone care to tell me what postmodernism is? I have a feeling that its definition is vague and broad... I heard "Fight Club" delt with a lot of postmodern topics.


tomder55 answered on 05/21/03:

Brad Pitt rebels against the "perfect" world of consumerism ,capitalism,commercialism ,and suburban existance that he believes emasculates him, by knocking the snot out of his otherwise "perfect"face. All in all it makes for some interesting satire . It is postmodernist in that like Nietzsche's postmodermist visions the solution he concocts as his personal utopia is 'neo-nazi' in character .

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Jon1667 asked on 05/19/03 - That didn't happen? Oh, well-never mind.

When members of the anti-war left joined Maureen Dowd thumped their fists on the table demanding to know why U.S. troops still under fire were guarding the oil fields and the oil ministry while looters plundered the cultural heritage of Iraq I was skeptical. Justifiably so. For now that U.S. investigators have determined that a total of just 38 pieces are unaccounted for, with one display of Babylonian cuneiform tablets accounting for nine of them, a far cry from the alleged theft and destruction of 170,000 items of antiquity, don't expect the morally superior critics of Operation Iraqi Freedom to admit error.

CBS breathlessly reported: "On April 11, while conquering American troops were guarding Iraq's oil ministry, they were not protecting Iraq's museum." CBS added that the looters took "everything of value." Apparently not.

John F. Burns of the New York Times reported on April 12 that "it took only 48 hours for the museum to be destroyed, with at least 170,000 artifacts carried away by looters," an astonishing 3,500 artifacts an hour, a rate of theft suggesting that an Iraqi mob had better logistics than the 3rd Infantry Division.

Instead, we now know that most items had been removed and stored in safer places in the museum. Only 17 out of 300-400 display cases were damaged and most items actually stolen have been recovered. Far more damage was done in the museum's administrative offices, where much of what was lifted by looters were items of common, everyday use -- desks, chairs, wiring and water fixtures.

Never mind. As long as the United States can be criticized, why should accuracy or truth matter?

tomder55 answered on 05/19/03:

What does not get reported, according to Foreman, is that American forces are being "love bombed" by Baghdadis on a daily basis. Women flirt with them, children flock to gawk and giggle, and old and young alike are amazed by the presence of black troops, apparently having been led to believe that blacks could not serve in the U.S. Army (or something). And everywhere they go, Americans are cheered and thanked profusely by Iraqis of every class and station, but particularly by the poor.
Just as they grew whiny and petulant when the United States had not completely dominated the country in 48 hours, the press now vastly underestimates the length of time it takes to return a liberated city to normal.
Well, not normal, really. Because if the U.S. liberation is to be successful in the largest sense, our work has really just begun. After getting water treatment plants running, electricity back on line, gasoline distributed, food supplies regulated, and schools and hospitals functioning, the United Staets must turn to the de-Baathification of the Iraqi people.
In the same issue of the Standard, Meyrav Wurmser details the indoctrination Iraqis have endured for 35 years. All personal goals were to be subordinated to the good of the state. Baathist doctrine exalted Arab unity above all other goals (though Saddam attacked an Arab neighbor and the Islamic Republic of Iran). Such unity, it was taught, would restore Arab civilization to its lost preeminence. Iraqi sixth grade textbooks quoted Saddam praising the Republican Guard for defending the nation from "Persian, American, NATO and Zionist aggression."
Moreover, decades of brutality and repression have left their mark. Iraqis will need to learn for the first time about democracy, pluralism and individual rights. But despite what you see and read in the press, we're off to a very promising start.
(May 9, 2003 Mona Charen)

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Dark_Crow asked on 05/17/03 - I have no subject because the title was previously used

For me to say I have a disbelief in the existence of God or any other deity is really saying--- look, I dont believe that _anything_, _anyone_ including you, says about any god or deity is true. This somehow seems provocative at worst and impolite at best. Is there any utility in doing this?

tomder55 answered on 05/17/03:

you gotta excuse them ,they are making a statement of their own personal faith ,and you know how uncompromising that can be .

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Jon1667 asked on 05/13/03 - Fareed Zakaria

In his important book (which I commend to you) "The Future of Freedom," Fareed Zakaria, among other things, puts forward the notion of illiberal democracy, in which he argues that democracy, without the institutions of liberty, can become, "one man, one vote, one time." That is how the Weimar Republic got Hitler, and how Iraq may get something like the Taliban. (It is really just a superb book!)

tomder55 answered on 05/14/03:

He's right . Our U.S. Constitution without our guaranteed rights would be no better than toilet paper.

Dark_Crow asked on 05/13/03 - Marxism is a much bigger threat than Arab terrorism.

Who are these people that argue that it is the demands of global capitalism that are driving us to war? I have a theory that it is steered by Marxist Theory. Now many of these protesters we see, dont have a clue who is behind this movement nor the reason behind the movement. The Arab problem is only a small part of the anti-American sentiment. Even before the Iraq crisis and the September 11 catastrophe, European anti-Americanism, especially in British and French left-liberal media, was spilling Marxist propaganda. Articles have appeared in the British press that would have you believe America, the most democratic country in the world, resembles Nazi Germany. I believe Marxism is a much bigger threat than Arab terrorism. Now the questions I ask earlier, [Is America a heck of a lot closer to Nazi Germany now than it was 2 years ago; or is America , although not in the same league as Nazi Germany, but certainly playing the same game?] are claims that were made here on this board, and not challenged by even one you.

tomder55 answered on 05/14/03:

Fascism is not what most people think it is. It is not the "right wing" opposite of "left wing." Instead, fascism is a form of socialism ,as is Marxism. Both are totalitarian ideologies that require state control/ownership of the means of production. They both also share varying degrees of antipathy toward Jews and Christians and Western civilization.

Many of the peace protesters described themselves as "progressives" and socialists,and naturally sympathised with Saddam Hussein and saw the U.S. and Israel and the United States as the greater threat.
There's an alliance between the socialists (both communist and fascists) and the radical Islamic world. Fascism binds them together.

Communists seek to impose 'God-like' authority on the state, and fascists seek to impose an alternate religious value system on the people. Nazis sought to restore an ancient pre-Christian pagan consciousness on the people of Germany. The radical Islam movement has it's own unique religious perspective. Saddam saw himself as Nebuchadnezzar ,a man who would restore ancient Babylon to it's former greatness.Bin Laden sees himself as Saladin.

Hussein and bin Laden created marriage of convenience. The evidence to this fact is being accumulated daily . The judge who last week found that Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks at a victims lawsuit against Saddam says that he doesn't understand why the Bush Administation is not more forthcoming to the American people about the connection . He pointed out the Salman Pak terrorist training grounds in Iraq,and eye witnesses who saw Saudi's training there in hijacking techniques. There were also documents found that linked Saddam to al Qaeda.

If you understand the link ,then you begin to understand how and why white, skinhead, neoNazi types could be recruited to work alongside Islamic terrorists , such as the Oklahoma City bombing? (John Doe # 3 was never identified but he was described as middle eastern ).To call our war ,a war on terrorism is too simplistic . Terrorism is a tactic . We're also not fighting a war only against radical Islam . We are ,I fear ,fighting that nexus that Colin Powell tried to warn us about in his presentations to the U.N.

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Dark_Crow asked on 05/13/03 - _effect_ and not the _cause_.

A few questions back tt ask about point of view and I think it is a very important question. One, jon, that you, in particular, seem to have a problem with [some others as well], and I noticed you did not answer her.

There can be many _points of view_ about any given thing, yet people seem to get stuck on only there own. For instance, you answered me with; [The question assumes that there is any resemblance between the two. But that is clearly false.]. , _one point of view_, like the answer you gave jon, was focused on the _effect_ of Nazism.

In my following question [Jon, perhaps you can tell me why between 1925 to 1933 millions of apparently sane, rational Germans joined the Nazi Party? How did the policy toward the Jews develop] _my point of view_ spoke to the _cause_ not the _effect_ and you choose not to follow that evidence. Now if my recollection is accurate you also have only one _point of view_ regarding the Arab Problem, as you have on the Jewish Problem and that is the _effect_ and not the _cause_. Perhaps that stems from your analytic training, or should I say lack of holistic training.

tomder55 answered on 05/13/03:

I'm not quite sure what parallels you find in the U.S.A. ,but I find plenty of them in radical Islamic jihad movements .

The Islamic jihad theory, is almost identical with the mythical structure of Nazi anti-Semitism. To the jihadists, an America under the control of Jewish influence and Israel, together with , secular Muslim regimes are the Satan's ; a dark force that seek to destroy Islam and undermine the cultural identity of believers.The modus operendi of the Jihad is to kill as many "infidels" as possible as a means of ushering in a world of Islam, which, when translated, means submission. Their doctrines specifically call for the killing of infidels who refuse to submit. When this is understood, the mystery surrounding the motive for the attack on 9/11, and the killing of Israeli kindergardeners are understood. They take the same message out of the' Koran' that Hitler gave in 'Mein Kampf'

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Choux asked on 05/12/03 - Clarification for Angry Andiri

Too bad we can't dscuss endlessly like we did on Askme. This post follows the last comments on a question I asked regarding America and other Countries.

I said America's only enemies are nations that have been PROVED to have WMD's and that includes Iraq who gassed the Kurds. We are going after North Korea and perhaps, Iran depending on how far along they are in their nuclear program.

Consider what it is like when Muslims have nuclear weapons. Pakistan and non-Muslim India. The Muslims attack an Indian temple, the Indians attack a Mosque, the Muslims attack a temple, the Indians attack a mosque, the Muslims, and they escalate killing humans......AND THEY HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Will they destroy who knows what, over ancient arguments, and a desire to have Kashmir?

We learned a lesson from North Korea; nip this kind of nuclear ambition in the bud! MWD are dangerous in the hands of goof-ball religious leaders. The Middle East if full of religious goof=balls who want to spread Islam by violent means. (By their own words)

It is America's duty to rid the world of rogue regimes who have WMD's because we have the power. Muslim nation are too unstable to have nuclear programs. Most have problems with people juiced-up on fundamentalist religion that has no place in a complicated modern world.

I never mentioned Syria...they were cowed by how quickly America dispatched Saddam's regime. We can work with them, perhaps.

Sorry we couldn't continue our discussion, but the software on Answerway doesn't allow many clarifications.

Cordially, Chou

tomder55 answered on 05/13/03:

I wouldn't take Syria off the list just yet. Even though they are not official members of the 'Axis of Evil' ,it is not for lack of credentials . Syrian President Bashar Assad assured Colin Powell that Iraqi fugitives would no longer be allowed to seek refuge in Syria. There were also assurances that Syria would block the flow of cash from Iraq into Syria, as well as the flow of terrorist fighters from Syria into Iraq. Assad also pledged that he would cut aid to anti-Israel organizations, such as Hezbollah, and close the offices of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Nobody has been closed down yet .Next to Yasser Arafat's terrorists and the Palestinian Islamists, Syria remains the biggest obstacle to Arab-Israeli peace.
In a recent interview in Al Safir, a Lebanese paper ,Assad said : "It is inconceivable that Israel will become a legitimate state even if the peace process is implemented. As long as Israel exists, the threat [to Syria] exists."
Syria has instead stepped up their support for terrorist organizations, according to Cofer Black, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism. Syria has begun allowing Al Qaeda operatives to enter , and to stay there and use it as a base of international operations.
"We clearly don't have the full support of the Syrian government on the Al Qaeda problem," says Black. "They have allowed Al Qaeda personnel to come in and virtually settle in Syria with its knowledge and support." Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute says that Syria's support for Hezbollah has increased dangerously.He points out that while Assad's late father, Hafez Assad, exercised great caution in dealing with Hezbollah, "Bashar is reported to have integrated elements of Hezbollah's units into the Syrian Army in Lebanon and has in fact supplied the group with heavy arms of its own."

There is also no sign that the Syrians are returning any of the Iraqi funds that were smuggled into their country by Iraqi officials . Syria also profited for years from billions of dollars worth of illegal oil shipments and arms dealing on behalf of Iraq. The pipeline from the Kirkuk oil fields to Syria's port of Baniyas illegally pumped 150,000 to 200,000 barrels of Iraqi oil a day. Syria sold the oil for Iraq and received a commission from Saddam (also skimmed off the procedes).That's not counting the commissions made by Assad relatives and buddies who fronted for Iraqi arms purchases.

There is a real reason to believe that Iraqi WMD were transfered before the war to Syria.There have been reports that they are being hidden in the Bakka Valley in Lebanon . This cannot be overlooked .

I think that something will be worked out
with the Iranians . Internal pressure inside the country to change is strong. I am not as confident with Syria.

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Jon1667 asked on 05/07/03 - Words and Thought: "Imperialism"

The dictionary informs me that:

"Imperialism" is:
The policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly : the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence.

But, it cannot tell me whether, in a particular instance, such of an "extension of power and dominion" is a good thing or a bad thing. It is a fact, of course, that in the 19th and early 20th century, much of imperialism was bad for the people at the time, although it is not clear that it is bad for the progeny of those people. For instance, it is unlikely that India would now be a democracy and be a leading center of computers had not the British introduced the kind of administration they did, and instilled a parliamentary system of government in India.
But, be that as it may, it seems to me that even supposing that imperialism, "the extension of the power and domain" of a nation or a culture into other nations or culture has in the past been a bad thing, is it necessarily something bad? Cannot this extension of power and domain be for the good too? It is that, not the connotations of a word, which counts. We have to look at what the effects of this extension of "power and domain" does, rather than worry about what it is called. Thought and facts should lead our views of what is happening, not words.
If the influence and power of the United States is for the good, then call it what you like.

tomder55 answered on 05/08/03:

From USA Today Monday's editorial page :

What is the greatest danger facing America as it tries to rebuild Iraq: Shiite fundamentalism? Kurdish separatism? Sunni intransigence? Turkish, Syrian, Iranian or Saudi Arabian meddling?
All of those are real problems, but none is so severe that it can't readily be handled. More than 125,000 American troops occupy Mesopotamia. They are backed up by the resources of the world's richest economy. In a contest for control of Iraq, America can outspend and outmuscle any competing faction.

The greatest danger is that we won't use all of our power for fear of the "I" word imperialism. When asked on April 28 on al-Jazeera whether the United States was "empire building," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld reacted as if he'd been asked whether he wears women's underwear. "We don't seek empires," he replied huffily. "We're not imperialistic. We never have been."

That's a fine answer for public consumption. The problem is that it isn't true. The United States has been an empire since at least 1803, when Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory. Throughout the 19th century, what Jefferson called the "empire of liberty" expanded across the continent. When U.S. power stretched from "sea to shining sea," the American empire moved abroad, acquiring colonies ranging from Puerto Rico and the Philippines to Hawaii and Alaska.

While the formal empire mostly disappeared after World War II, the United States set out on another bout of imperialism in Germany and Japan. Oh, sorry that wasn't imperialism; it was "occupation." But when Americans are running foreign governments, it's a distinction without a difference. Likewise, recent "nation-building" experiments in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan are imperialism under another name.

Mind you, this is not meant as a condemnation. The history of American imperialism is hardly one of unadorned good doing; there have been plenty of shameful episodes, such as the mistreatment of the Indians. But, on the whole, U.S. imperialism has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past century. It has defeated the monstrous evils of communism and Nazism and lesser evils such as the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing. Along the way, it has helped spread liberal institutions to countries as diverse as South Korea and Panama.

Yet, while generally successful as imperialists, Americans have been loath to confirm that's what they were doing. That's OK. Given the historical baggage that "imperialism" carries, there's no need for the U.S. government to embrace the term. But it should definitely embrace the practice.

That doesn't mean looting Iraq of its natural resources; nothing could be more destructive of our goal of building a stable government in Baghdad. It means imposing the rule of law, property rights, free speech and other guarantees, at gunpoint if need be. This will require selecting a new ruler who is committed to pluralism and then backing him or her to the hilt. Iran and other neighboring states won't hesitate to impose their despotic views on Iraq; we shouldn't hesitate to impose our democratic views.

The indications are mixed as to whether the United States is prepared to embrace its imperial role unapologetically. Rumsfeld has said that an Iranian-style theocracy "isn't going to happen," and President Bush has pledged to keep U.S. troops in Iraq as long as necessary to "build a peaceful and representative government." After allowing a temporary power vacuum to develop, U.S. troops now are moving aggressively to put down challenges to their authority by, for example, arresting the self-declared "mayor" of Baghdad.

That's all for the good. But there are also some worrisome signs. Bush asked for only $2.5 billion from Congress for rebuilding Iraq, even though a study from the Council on Foreign Relations and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy estimates that $25 billion to $100 billion will be needed. Iraq's oil revenues and contributions from allies won't cover the entire shortfall. The president should be doing more to prepare the U.S. public and Congress for a costly commitment. Otherwise, Iraqis quickly could become disillusioned about the benefits of liberation.

The cost of our commitment will be measured not only in money but also in troops. While Bush and Rumsfeld have wisely eschewed any talk of an early "exit strategy," they still seem to think that U.S. forces won't need to stay more than two years. Rumsfeld even denied a report that the U.S. armed forces are planning to open permanent bases in Iraq. If they're not, they should be. That's the only way to ensure the security of a nascent democracy in such a rough neighborhood.

Does the administration really imagine that Iraq will have turned into Switzerland in two years' time? Allied rule lasted four years in Germany and seven years in Japan. American troops remain stationed in both places more than 50 years later. That's why these two countries have become paragons of liberal democracy. It is crazy to think that Iraq which has less of a democratic tradition than either Germany or Japan had in 1945 could make the leap overnight.

The record of nation-building during the past decade is clear: The United States failed in Somalia and Haiti, where it pulled out troops prematurely. Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan show more promise because U.S. troops remain stationed there. Afghanistan would be making even more progress if the United States and its allies had made a bigger commitment to secure the countryside, not just Kabul.

If we want Iraq to avoid becoming a Somalia on steroids, we'd better get used to U.S. troops being deployed there for years, possibly decades, to come. If that raises hackles about American imperialism, so be it. We're going to be called an empire whatever we do. We might as well be a successful empire.

Max Boot is an Olin senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power.

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Choux asked on 05/06/03 - Discussions of American Foreign Policy

When I listen to discussions about America's foreign policy goals espceially the reason(s) for the Iraqi War, I get perplexed. For example, Bill Maher makes the point that the Bush Administration has changed the reason for the war twice...and Mayer says that the war was not necessary, that Saddam was only "the Mayor of Baghdad". I see that the reason he changed the reasons is that he can't state the real basic reason. America is not going to be subservient to Arab terrorists and their sympathizers.

If a person gets into a discussion with someone and states that the reason for the war was that America wants to have the upper hand in the world to Arab bombers and their sympathizers, is the response that America is Imperialistic?

If so, I don't see that controlling Arab violence and trying to positively effect the Middle East means that America is making an Empire. I disagree completely.

So, what is a response to them?

tomder55 answered on 05/07/03:

This is the same Bill Maher who said that the 9/11 murderers were not cowardly but brave because it took more courage to fly a plane into a building than to drop a bomb from the sky?

Now he ,and people like James Farrell are saying we were lied to because we have not found the WMD yet ,even though through delays manufactured by our friends in the U.N.gave Saddam ample time to bury ,and hide his program (latest I heard is that Syria permitted them to be hidden in the Baka Valley in OCCUPIED Lebanon).so 1st I still believe that WMD is the motivation for the war.

Given that ,I think it is important that they be found . There is alot of credibility at stake here in that we have a chance to make major changes in the region .As you know I have been openly supportive of the long term stategic goals that have been outlined by 'The Project for The New American Century '
"On Democracy as a Strategic Imperative "

"Democracy remains a focal point of American policy today. The National Security Strategy of the United States affirms: 'America must stand firm for the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state; free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women; religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property.'

"Why has the United States so often emphasized democracy? At the most fundamental level, we support democracy as a matter of principle. It is at the very heart of what we are as a nation and who we are as a people.

"There are also practical reasons for the United States to promote democracy abroad, demonstrating that realism and idealism are complementary. Quite simply, we will prosper more as a people and as a nation in a world of democracies than in a world of authoritarian or chaotic regimes.

"A democratic world is a more peaceful world. The pattern of established democracies not going to war with one another is among the most demonstrable findings in the study of international relations. This does not mean we cannot have overlapping interests and fruitful cooperation with non-democracies, nor does it mean that we will not have strong disagreements with fellow democracies. But the more established democracies there are, the larger the area in the world where nations will be more likely to sort out their differences through diplomacy."
[if you call that Imperialism ,than so be it ]
During his speech on The USS Abraham Lincoln Bush said that anyone in the Arab world "who works and sacrifices for freedom has a loyal friend in the United States of America."

The President is reaching out to Arab liberals (moderates ,and those Arabs who seek changing Arab culture) with an assurance that it is safe to come out of the closet and go over to the American side. But , the President's integrity has to be unquestionable. That won't happen until his rationale for going to war is clarified,and our main reason stated for the war was WMD.
Saddam was evil and dangerous , and getting rid of him was the right thing to do . If it turns out that Bush was wrong about WMD, I can live with it,and most Americans feel that way;even Sen. Tom Daschle said , "Regime change was a legitimate goal. It was accomplished, and I think that's laudable in and of its own right." Most of the world will not be so generous .(not that I care about most of the world ,but we are trying to win the hearts and minds of the people of the Middle East ,so it seems to me that their opinion will matter).

Lying is a part of realpolitik that the Arab world is very familiar with . But Bush is asking Arabs to risk their lives by taking America's side. These people have to be convinced that Bush is a man of his word.

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Dark_Crow asked on 04/28/03 - Americas position in regards to the UN

Im really trying to figure out just what Americas position is, in regards to the UN. Didnt America hold Iraq to the authority put forth by the UN, and then itself, deny the authority applied to America?

It seems we either need to give world authority to the UN, or deny it has any authority at all.

tomder55 answered on 04/29/03:

The U.N. proved itself a gelding in the sad Iraq situation . While they waffled for years ,the Iraqi people suffered unspeakable atrocities . Was it better for us to be dropping bombs piecmeal for a decade with the U.N. approval (no fly zones ,operation Desert Fox)?

I agree ,we acted outside of our authority as a member of the U.N. but as defenders of freedom ;and our own security it was the right thing to do .

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Jon1667 asked on 04/25/03 - Much Ado About Nothing

The other night there was some jewelry in a box, and my wife asked me to remove it. Then, when I had, she asked me whether there was anything in the box, and I said there wasn't, that the box was empty.

Now my conscience is bothering me. Because I read some place that someone, I think he was called Buddha or something that sounded like that, suggested that nothing existed. So, if Buddha (is that his name does anyone know?) is right, I lied to my wife when I said the box was empty because nothing was in the box.
So I really need to know. Was I lying to my wife because the box really had nothing in it and it was not empty?

Please let me know, so if I was lying I can 'fess up and clear my conscience.

Thank you in advance.

tomder55 answered on 04/25/03:

you lie!! the molecular composition of the content in the box was quite complex . the correct answe was "I percieve nothing in the box"..........or is this just meaningless semantics?

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captainoutrageous asked on 04/23/03 - Anti-American? Not!

To Choux and Tomder,

You apparently misunderstood my response to the "hyper-power" question. I am definitely not anti-American, nor am I pro-French. I do, however, lament the way the US is viewed by the rest of the world. My response was an effort to demonstrate why other nations may view us the way they do. Perhaps my choice of the word aggressor was not the best, but was not the US an aggressor in invading Iraq, even if it was justified?

tomder55 answered on 04/24/03:

I do not recall claiming you are antiAmerican . I was responding to the French part ,and I stick to my comments that the French had best consider who their friends are . As to the perception of America around the world ;Let them hate us . I do not care if despots hate us . To those free nations that hate us ,I would just mention that the U.S. for a century has sacrificed many lives to safeguard your freedoms . Europe ,Japan , S .Korea ,Australia have spent a fraction of the resources needed to secure their own freedoms . The U.S. has taken up the mantle for years ,allowing these nations to prosper ,and in some cases set up these intricate domestic Socialist systems that provide for the welfare of their populations .
One wonders how much taxes a European would have had pay if in addition to their domestic spending ,their governments had to shell out the expenses needed to guarantee their safety during the Cold War. The recently freed nations of Eastern Europe understand ,but Western Europe has for the most part sadly forgotten.

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Dark_Crow asked on 04/22/03 - Are we are in a religious war

Are we are in a religious war [which Bush understands] which few Americans understand, because religion in America is treated differently than it is in much of the Arab world?

I will quote Stanley Fish: --- America's "Civic Religion," a faith (if that is the word) founded on the twin rocks of Locke's declaration that "the business of laws is not to provide for the truth of opinions, but for the safety and security of the commonwealth" and Jefferson's more colloquial version of the same point: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say that there are twenty Gods or no Gods; it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." Jefferson's further contribution is the famous "Wall of Separation," a metaphor that has lent constitutional force to the separation of church and state, even though it is not in the Constitution. In combination, these now canonical statements give us the key distinction between the private and the public, which in turn gives us the American creed of tolerance. It goes like this: If you leave me free to believe whatever I like, I'll leave you free to believe whatever you like, even though in our respective hearts we regard each other's beliefs as false and ungodly. We can argue about it or privately condemn each other, but our differences of belief shouldn't mean that we try to disenfranchise or imprison or kill each other or refrain from entering into relationships of commercial and social cooperation. Let's live and let live. Let's obey the civil, nonsectarian laws and leave the sorting out of big theological questions to God and eternity..

And again here: All of that is precisely what adherents of the Al Qaeda version of Islam hate and categorically deny, which is why the question "Is this a religious war?" will make no sense to them, or, rather, will make only the sense of a question issuing from an infidel who is by definition wrong and an enemy. Not only do Bin Laden and company fail to make the distinction between religious and civil acts; they regard those who do make it as persons without a true religion. If you're really religious, you're religious all the time, and no act you perform--even the act of having or not having a beard--is without religious significance and justification. It is the dividing of one's life into the separate realms of the public and private that leads, say the militants, to a society bereft of a moral center and populated by citizens incapable of resisting the siren call of excess and sin.
This refusal of Al Qaeda-style Islam to honor the public/private distinction is the essence of that faith, and not some incidental feature of it that can be dispensed with or moderated. Commentators who pronounced on the question "Is this a religious war?" tended to see this and not see it at the same time. They noted the fact but then contrived to turn it into a correctable mistake, either by using words like "criminal," "fanatic," and "extremist" or by implying that the non-emergence of the public/private distinction is some kind of evolutionary failure; they want to be like us, but they don't yet know how to do it. Thus R. Scott Appleby, a professor at Notre Dame and an expert on religion and violence, notes (in the November 2001 issue of Lingua Franca), with an apparently straight face, that "Islam has been remarkably resistant to the differentiation and privatization of religion that often accompanies secularization ... and has not undergone a reformation like the one experienced by Christianity, which led to a pronounced separation of sacred and secular." ("What's the matter with these guys? Why can't they get with the program?") But of course there is nothing remarkable in a faith's refusal of a transformation that would undo it. Privatization and secularization are not goals that Islam has yet to achieve; they are specters that Islam (or some versions of it) pushes away as one would push away death..

tomder55 answered on 04/23/03:

The final decades of the 20th century witnessed another Holocaust ;an Islamic one, in which millions have been and continue to be shot, decapitated and stoned to death; in which people have been slaughtered and displaced by Islamic states, political Islamic movements and Islamic terrorists in Iran, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Central Asia, and now in America. The robe, turban and Koran continue to victimize people. Any voice of dissent or freedom has been silenced on the spot. The oppression maintained by Islamic movements primarily takes the form of opposition to the freedom of women, by crushing women's civil liberties, by curtailing freedom of expression in the cultural and personal domains, by enforcing brutal laws and traditions, and by the mass killing of people from young children to the elderly.

Essentially, Islam is a set of beliefs and rules that militate against human prosperity, happiness, welfare, freedom, equality and knowledge. Islam and a full human life are contradictory concepts, opposed to each other. Islam under any kind of interpretation is and always has been a strong force against secularism, modernism, egalitarianism and women's rights. Political Islam, is a political movement that has come to the fore against secular and progressive movements for liberation, and against cultural and intellectual advances. Violence and disregard for human dignity are inherent in the manifestos of political Islamic groups.

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Dark_Crow asked on 04/22/03 - But the question was: Are we are in a religious war?

But the question was: Are we are in a religious war?

My answer is yes, it is true, I am certain. (smile) However, I am also certain I cannot convince everyone it is true.

tomder55 answered on 04/22/03:

yes ,but I will be polite ,and give my standard answer that 'Radical Islam' is a political movement aimed at World domination . That when you take religion out of Sharia it is very simular to Mein Kampf in tone and objective. So my standard answer is that it is political or cultural but not religious . I cling to the hope that this bold experiment of 'democratization 'we are about to embark in, in Iraq and Afghanistan will show the populations of the Islamic world the benefit of secularization ,and thus domino itself throughout the world . That is my only hope of ending what has been to this point a virtual nonstop conflict with Islam since it's inception.

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Choux asked on 03/27/03 - Thoughts on War

Do you think that the worst thing in a person's life is to die? (I don't).

Perhaps the above conviction is a roadblock to communicating about the War on Saddam and his men.


tomder55 answered on 03/28/03:

I don't either . I don't believe death is the end , and sometimes life conditions are unbearable . If those conditions are endless , with no relief in sight ,then death is a better option .

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Jon1667 asked on 03/15/03 - Self-Interest

If an individual (or a country) aids another individual (or country) while pursuing its own self-interest, or even (which is a different thing) in order to pursue its own self-interest, does that lessen, or even obviate, the value of what that individual (or country) has done?

tomder55 answered on 03/16/03:

Choux is correct . Let's look at the France issue one more time .
Yes ,the U.S. helped liberate France ;but that cannot be seen as the motivating factor
The reason it was done was to defeat Nazi Germany .When Germany wasn't a threat to us ,we didn't care
if France was occupied or not. The result was a gesture of generosity ;but just like freeing the Jewss in the camp ,that was
a byproduct of our efforts to Defeat Hitler.

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JeffreyBryson asked on 03/11/03 - The Future for France

Feel free to comment as you will about whether these officials are or are not over the top with their protests here.

This article, though, stimulates me to pose the question of the sort of status France will possibly or likely have with the world in months to come because of its war stance.

Au revoir to French food names

Politics of culinary nomenclature captivate U.S. House


WASHINGTON, March 11 Show the flag and pass the ketchup was the order of the day in House cafeterias Tuesday. Lawmakers struck a lunchtime blow against the French and put freedom fries on the menu. And for breakfast theyll now have freedom toast.

THE NAME changes follow similar actions by restaurants around the country protesting French opposition to the administrations Iraq war plans.
Update. Now Serving in All House Office Buildings, Freedom Fries, read a sign that Republican Reps. Bob Ney of Ohio and Walter Jones of North Carolina placed at the register in the Longworth Office Building food court.
Jones said he was inspired by Cubbies restaurant in Beaufort, N.C., in his district, one of the first to put freedom fries on the menu instead of french fries.

This action today is a small but symbolic effort to show the strong displeasure of many on Capitol Hill with the actions of our so-called ally, France, said Ney, chairman of the House Administration Committee.
Ney, whose panel oversees House operations, ordered the menu changes.

The French Embassy in Washington had no immediate comment, except to say that french fries actually come from Belgium.
Ney said he was of French descent and once the French government comes around we can get back to talking about french fries.
On a more serious note, Republican Jim Saxton of New Jersey has proposed a ban on Pentagon participation in this years Paris Air Show and restrictions on French participation in any postwar construction projects in Iraq.
But House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said at a news conference that applying legislative sanctions to France was not necessary. I dont think we have to retaliate against France. Theyve isolated themselves pretty well, he said.

tomder55 answered on 03/12/03:

George Will saw fit to include in his Newsweek column this joke: "How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? No one knows, it's never been tried." That was certainly amusing. One million, four hundred thousand French soldiers were killed during World War I. As a result, there weren't many Frenchmen left to fight in World War II. Nevertheless, 100,000 French soldiers lost their lives trying to stop Hitler.

On behalf of every one of those 100,000 men, I would like to thank Mr. Will for his clever joke. They were out-manned, out-gunned, out-generaled and, above all, out-tanked. They got slaughtered, but they stood and they fought. In the few places where they had tanks, they held splendidly.

Relying on the Maginot Line was one of the great military follies of modern history, but it does not reflect on the courage of those who died for France in 1940. For eighteen months after that defeat, the United States of America continued to have cordial diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany.

After WWII; Instead of insisting on freedom for the colonies of Europe, we let our allies carry on with the colonial system, leaving the British in India and Africa, and the French in Vietnam and Algeria.

Dien Bien Phu. Yes, the French did surrender After 6,000 French dead in a no-hope position. God, the trouble we could have saved ourselves if we had only paid attention to Dien Bien Phu.

Then came Algeria for the French. As nasty a war as has ever been fought. If you have seen the film "Battle of Algiers," you have some idea. Five generations of pieds noirs, French colonialists, thought it was their country. Charles de Gaulle came back into power in 1958, specifically elected to keep Algeria French. de Gaulle's long, slow, delicate, withdrawal is one of the single greatest acts of statesmanship in history.

Those were the years when France learned about terrorism. The plastiquers were all over Paris. The "plastic" bombs, the ones you can stick like Play-Do underneath the ledge of some building, were the popular weapon du jour. It made Israel today look tame. For France, terrorism is, "Been there, done that."

The French reaction to 9/11 was so immediate, so generous, so overwhelming. Not just the government, but the people kept bringing flowers to the American embassy. They covered the American Cathedral, the American Church, anything they could find that was American. They didn't just leave flowers, they wrote notes with them. They refered again and again, to Normandy, to never forgetting, there were even some in referring to WW I: "Lafayette is still with you."
We Americans are famously ahistorical. We can barely be bothered to remember what happened last week, or last month, much less last year. The French are really stuck on history. Does it not occur to anyone that these are very old friends of ours, trying to tell us what they think they know about being hated by weak enemies in the Third World? (excerpts from a Molly Irvin editorial).

I got a great idea ,since we have yet to name our operation of Iraqi liberation,let's name it 'Operation Laffayette'.

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hmghaly asked on 03/10/03 - Our Dear Patriots!

I was astonished by the unanimous agreement among you American people I met here about the (anticipated) war. It is not less astonishing that the majority of the rest of the world is against this war, and I am personally against it, for reasons that have nothing to do with the fact that the surname of Saddam is the same as my name :)!! My reasons are that the American presence in the region is not invited, and so not desirable, and that there is a great deal of hypocrisy in the claims that America throws every now and then; it is all about oil and control of the region, regardless of all this moving talk about the violation of human rights in there. Wasn't America there when Saddam used these weapons against the Shi'ites and the Kurds? Wasn't america in the very first place the one who provided him with these weapons? Enough BS!
Now I'm trying to explore your motives behind supporting this. What I think is that the American government intentionally misleads the American people with such crap like what is said about the threat Saddam can make to America, and the link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda. This would be best suited for a third world country, where the media is all dominated by the government. The other possibility is that it is not about being misled, but rather, for the love of that country that makes one supports any decision the country does, just because it is in the name of the country, this is what patriotism is, right?
I heared an interesting quote, probably by Oscar Wilde, which was: "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious" Of course I don't mean you people, since most of you show extreme kindness, what I mean is the politicians who appeal to people's emotions by this talk about patritism, and "what is good for the country" and "what will make this country great" and stuff.
Maybe there are other views of patriotism, but the way I see it is not positive at all; for me I prefer to think as a human being, rather than an Egyptian, although I'm proud of this as well, but I can recogize the wrong when my country does it and resist it ( the way I can), not just go on justifying it!
That's the message I want to deliver to you, my patriotic friends,


tomder55 answered on 03/11/03:

'American presence in the region is not invited, and so not desirable' .

We are indeed invited . By Kuwait ,Qatar ,UAE,and by Saudi Arabia ,Israel ,Turkey ,by Pakistan,Bahrain,Oman. There are presently American bases at these countries ,and unless you say that we are univited occupiers ,then it must be safe to assume that we were invited .

Chemical Weapons :

Yes ,the U.S. under Reagan supplied some of these weapons to Iraq during the Iraq/Iran war . The U.S. considered Iran the greater threat ,and I concede it was an aweful policy ,a mistake . That doesn't diminish the horror of using them ,the human rights concerns ,or their potential to threaten our security in the future .

Control of Oil :
That may very well be Russia,and France's opposition to us ,but to claim the U.S. wants control is a fabrication . Why did we not seize them in 1991? What we want to happen with the Iraqi oil is for it to feed ,and make the lives of Iraqi's better . We do not want Saddam ,the meglomaniac, using the resource to rearm with more dangerous weapon systems , to build a military that will again threaten the region ,and the world ,and to create wealth for himself ,and a few of his ruling party

Patriotism :
your definition is sound . I consider the Americans who disagree with our policy as misguided ,but not unpatriotic (except for Sean Penn who gave aid and comfort to our enemy). I am insulted that you would think that I would take a position without a critical analysis of it . I daily examine it ,and consider all rebutals . I have not seen any logical argument that would make me
change it . A free person is not required to agree with their nation ,and some 30-40% of Americans don't if you believe the polling data . How many Iraqi's agree with Saddam ?
Do they not deserve to be heard ? Do they have the right to basic human dignities ? To be secure from tyranny,to have a free will ,and the right to exercise it ? My question is ;as an intelligent free person yourself ,how can you tolerate it ?Why are you not demanding that your country do something about it . Freedom ,when people stick their heads in the sand is not long lasting .

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chekhovToo asked on 03/10/03 - Torture of Terrorists

There has been some debate lately about the morality of torturing terrorists, and whether the benefits to our freedom outweigh the costs to our conscience. So my question is - Should terrorists be tortured in certain circumstances?

tomder55 answered on 03/10/03:

Simply stated;no . Torture is cruel ,and ineffective . Threaten me with torture, and I will be very happy to confess that I assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Want to know of plots against the government? Threaten me with torture, and I will be happy to make up whatever you want to hear. Interrogators make much more headway by having repeated conversations with a prisoner . A skilled interrogator can extract information that the prisoner has no idea they are revealing .

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hmghaly asked on 03/09/03 - How come?

I need to understand, how come America is that damn sure about the presence of WMD in Iraq and still sends over quarter a million of its soldiers there? Is america so willing to sacrifice the lives of these soldiers? This is extremely wierd, come on!!

tomder55 answered on 03/10/03:

think about it . How do we know ? because we gave it to them in the 80's . Also the missing WMD was documented by the inspectors before they were expelled (Blix report confirms this ). What we do not know about is how much they have obtained since the expulsion . France ,Germany ,Russia ,and China are elbow deep in violating the sanction program that was in place . That is why sanctions failed ,that is why deterence failed ,that is why inspections failed ,and that is why we must go to war . there ,I have given you 5 other countries that have made this war inevidable ,blame them and stop blaming the U.S.

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Jon1667 asked on 03/07/03 - Ad Hominems

What is an ad hominem argument? Is it always logically illegitimate? ("Ad hominem" means "against the person")
For instance, if I point out that someone is a known liar, so what he reports should not be believed, that is an ad hominem. But is it illegitimate to argue that way?

tomder55 answered on 03/07/03:

Does it discredit the merit of that persons argument ? He may be a known liar , but his point could still be valid .
It is much better to counter his point instead of saying something like "of course you feel that way ;you are a bleeding heart liberal ",or "what do you know ;you never served ;you are a chicken hawk". Neither counterpoint addresses the issue .

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grayeagle_50 asked on 03/07/03 - GAS PRICES???

Many people say that the upcoming war with Iraq has nothing to do with oil,then why are gas prices soaring because of the future war?If we do not import oil from that country then why is it affecting us at the pumps?Prices are expected to rise to an all time high by April....Why?......Jeff

tomder55 answered on 03/07/03:

It has more to do with the strike in Venezuala .

However the Iraq situation doesn't help .

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Gguru asked on 03/02/03 - How far should Democracy go?

Its my thought,that democracy should result in a government,participating all parties preferably or as many parties as possible,with a minimum participation to be formulated in terms of percentage of people and/or parties.
Common practice is to seek for a majority government and I dont think,that this results in a truly democratic way of ruling the country.The disadvantage is the danger of neglecting minorities and at the othet hand the possibility of abuse of power leading to undesirable situations.
Note:Hitler was born out of democracy........
Other opinions?

tomder55 answered on 03/03/03:

there is no true democracy . In the U.S. ie. there is a representative Republic . We freely elect Representatives who vote on matters of State presubably in our best intersts and desires . Tyranny is suborned by the fact that no law can be passed that violates a basic Constitution . The division of powers between 3 branches of gvt. ensures that one branch cannot gain absolute power.

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chekhovToo asked on 03/02/03 - Morality

What is the morality in bribing the UN security council to support a war (in Iraq) waged, we are told, on moral grounds?

tomder55 answered on 03/02/03:

The real question is :What are the REAL motives for
France ,Germany ,and Russia for opposing .
Wouldn't be financial interest ;would it ?

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hmghaly asked on 02/26/03 - UN resolutions

"Iraq has defied one UN resolution after another..." I wonder how many resolutions did Israel defy?

tomder55 answered on 02/26/03:

In the General Assembly there exists a long-standing tradition of singling out Israel. Nineteen anti-Israel resolutions are adopted by the General Assembly every year .

The automatic majority enjoyed by the Arab-Moslem bloc enables this group to pass any anti-Israel resolution it chooses, no matter how one-sided it may be. This same automatic majority blocks the adoption of any resolution that has any hint of criticism against the Palestinians or any Arab state.

Anti-Israel resolutions are traditionally adopted in many agencies on issues, which have no relevance to the work or mandate of these organizations. The Commission on Human Rights routinely adopts totally disproportionate resolutions concerning Israel. Of all the condemnations issued by the Commission, 26 percent refer to Israel alone, while rogue states such as Syria, Iran and Yemen are never criticized.
Israel is the object of more investigative committees, special representatives than any other state in the UN .

The "Special Committees" and "Palestinian Units" of the UN (The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division on Palestinian Rights, as well as the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories) spend more than five million dollars a year, essentially to spread viciously anti-Israel propaganda. In the last 55 years, since the establishment of the UN, there have been at least 80 conflicts between states in which at least that number of refugee situations have developed. Only the Palestinians have gotten the kind of attention they have received, while many other peoples have suffered and are still suffering.

There are frequent cases of blatantly anti-Semitic remarks by Arab representatives at UN forums. In 1991, Syrian representatives at the Commission on Human Rights accused Jews of using the blood of Christian children in their rituals. March 1997, the PLO representative in Geneva, Nabil Ramlani, used the same forum to accuse Israel of injecting 300 Palestinian children with the AIDS virus. In May 2000, the representative of Lebanon declared Zionism to be an "elitist racist movement". But anti-Semitism as a phenomenon has long been ignored or deliberately omitted in resolutions ,even in commemorations of World War II. It was only in November 1998, 50 years after the UN's founding, that the word "anti-Semitism" was first mentioned in a UN resolution.

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