Saturday, June 16, 2007


Having a language problem with blogger

they think I'm Chinese...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


American Mythology 101


The US was founded on Christian principles.

This is incorrect. The Constitution never once mentions a deity, because the Founding Fathers wanted to keep their new country "religion-neutral." Our Founding Fathers were an eclectic collection of Atheists, Deists, Christians, Freemasons and Agnostics.
George Washington, the Father of our country, and John Adams (Second President of the USA) CLEARLY stated in the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli: "The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion.” G.W. rarely attended church and instead followed a popular 18th century philosophy called Deism—a Star Wars-esque philosophy that believed in a cosmic energy or big-ass universal "Force."
The dictionary says that Deism is "a system of thought advocating natural religion based on human reason rather than revelation," that had nothing to do with Christian principles.
James Madison, original mastermind of our Constitution, was an Atheist to the core who loved skewering Christianity. In 1785 he wrote, "What have been fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”
Thomas Jefferson, who sat down and authored The Declaration of Independence, rarely missed an opportunity to laugh at Christianity. In a letter to John Adams in 1823, he wrote: "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus…will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
More ammo: In 1814, Tommy J. wrote about the Bible's Old and New Testaments, "The whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful -- evidence that parts have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds.”
In fact, it was President Jefferson himself who first wrote (to a Baptist church group in 1802), "The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between Church and State." Therefore, when Jefferson talked about “Nature’s God,” the “Creator” and “divine Providence ” in the Declaration that he wrote, he was being a hippie and referring to a general cosmic energy-- not the Christian God.
America is not a Christian nation. Period. Our Constitution derived from the post-Christian Enlightenment values of reason and truth...never from the paranoid yammerings of that otherwise compassionate cult leader who *beep* died in the Middle Eastern desert 3000 years ago.


US Conservatives tend to be patriotic, ethical Americans; liberals tend to hate America and are immoral.

Liberals aren't the traitors to America. In fact, conservatives who insist on sending American troops into the Iraqi slaughterhouse to watch some blood-n'-guts "towelhead" ass-kickin' are the traitors. Most of them could care less about our troops, no more than Mao or Stalin cared about the safety of their own soldiers. In the neocons' view, these young boys and girls are expendable test dummies.
They're dying for virtually nothing, so that the hicks in the Bush Admin can make good on their campaign promises to their buddies from the petroleum and infrastructure-rebuilding industries.
By revving up the Arab threat, these MFs can scream "national security" and "freedom" as smokescreens, while getting their hands on a diminishing resource: Middle Eastern fossil fuels, which power everything from your lightbulbs and computer that you leave on all night, to your stupid gas-guzzler pickup truck.
Pro-war conservatives are the traitors to America. With only 29% of the public approving of Bush's policies now, it took a full 5 years for America to finally wake up in bed next to this disgusting fact.
Do liberals hate America? No, in fact they care so much about the USA that they fight so aggressively to make it better. They're not anti-American; they're just anti-stupidity.
Do liberals hate American policies? Sometimes, but only the self-destructive ones that threaten human rights, liberty, democracy, justice, inquiry, excellence and reason-- the values that our country was founded upon. As for conservative moral superiority? Frauds. Think of the child-molesting priests, money-scamming televangelist preachers, Jack Abramoff's friends in the Bush Admin, gay-hating Jesus lovers, the Christians who beat up the professor who opposed intelligent design, human rights violators like Lynndie England and her Abu Ghraib hick officer pals, Tommy "Scandal-icious" Delay, Scooter "Leaky" Libby, the entire K Street Project meant to hire only Republicans, FEMA's Michael "Yer doin' a heckuva job" Brownie, and so on.
Oh and by the way, conservative Red states have a divorce rate 27% higher than the liberal Blue states, the per capita rate of violent crime in Red states is 49 per 100,000 higher than in Blue states, the top 5 states with the highest rates of alcohol abuse are Red states, and the per capita rate of gonorrhea in Red states was 41 per 100,000 higher than in the Blue states. Time to unshelf the antibiotics for our "ethical," "God-fearing" conservative friends with their "traditional family values."


The US has a liberal media.

This is a paranoid Republican myth. Reality check: the US media is a mix of liberal, centrist and conservative voices. Also, the US media is largely owned by 10 corporations who frequently push pro-conservative agendas to the American public.
1. Even Republican Pat Buchanan confessed, "For heaven sakes, we kid about the liberal media, but every Republican on earth does that."
Neo-conservative pundit Bill Kristol also said, "I admit it: the liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures."
2. A 2005 study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics found that "coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media." Why? Partly because only four major corporate networks control American TV news-- up to 75% of the audience share. The "Big 10" media conglomerates who control the bulk of the entire US media are: AOL Time Warner, Disney, General Electric, News Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi, Sony, Bertelsmann, AT&T and Liberty Media. Yes, we have National Public Radio, but compare its public reach to that of Canada's CBC and the United Kingdom's BBC.
3. Eighty percent of all US newspapers are owned by corporate chains.
4. Liberals are virtually non-existent on talk radio stations nationwide. Rush and Dr. Laura, eat your hearts out.
5. Conservatives are very well accomodated for across FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, the New York Post, the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard, the Drudge Report, the National Review, etc. Even so-called "bastions of liberalism," e.g. the NY Times, MSNBC, WashPost and NPR make a concerted effort to be "fair and balanced" by bringing in right-wing views like those of David Brooks, Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson, Charles Krauthammer and Cokie Roberts to have their say in these forums, respectively. This is in stark contrast to FOX News' claims to unbiased objectivity, which were easily demolished by Robert Greenwald in 2004.
6. Contrary to what some paranoid Republicans claim, most journalists are centrists, not liberals. A representative sample of 141 US journalists and bureau chiefs were asked in 1998, "On social issues, how would you characterize your political orientation?" Answers: Left 30%, Center 57%, Right 9%, Other 5% . Next question, same sample: "On economic issues, how would you characterize your political orientation? " Answers: Left 11%, Center 64%, Right 19%, Other 5%. Also, look at the total number of think tank citations in major newspapers, radio and TV transcripts: Conservative TTs: 7792, Centrist TTs: 6361, Liberal TTs: 1152. 7. Eric Alterman summarizes a 1999 research study from the academic journal Communications Research: "Four scholars examined the use of the 'liberal media' argument and discovered a fourfold increase in the number of Americans telling pollsters that they discerned a liberal bias in their news. But a review of the media's actual ideological content, collected and coded over a twelve-year period, offered no corroboration whatever for this view."


The US doesnt need improvement compared to other countries; it is the greatest country in the world.

Wrong again. I'll only cite the statistics here.

USA Ranking on Adult Literacy Scale: #9 (#1 Sweden and #2 Norway)- OECD

USA Ranking on Healthcare Quality Index: #37 (#1 France and #2 Italy)- World Health Organization 2003

USA Ranking of Student Reading Ability: #12 (#1 Finland and #2 South Korea)- OECD PISA 2003

USA Ranking of Student Problem Solving Ability: #26 (#1 South Korea and #2 Finland)- OECD PISA 2003

USA Ranking on Student Mathematics Ability: # 24 (#1 Hong Kong and #2 Finland)- OECD PISA 2003

USA Ranking of Student Science Ability: #19 (#1 Finland and #2 Japan)- OECD PISA 2003

USA Ranking on Women's Rights Scale: #17 (#1 Sweden and #2 Norway)- World Economic Forum Report

USA Position on Timeline of Gay Rights Progress: # 6 (1997) (#1 Sweden 1987 and #2 Norway 1993)- Vexen

USA Ranking on Life Expectancy: #29 (#1 Japan and #2 Hong Kong)- UN Human Development Report 2005

USA Ranking on Journalistic Press Freedom Index: #32 (#1 Finland, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands tied)- Reporters Without Borders 2005

USA Ranking on Political Corruption Index: #17 (#1 Iceland and #2 Finland)- Transparency International 2005

USA Ranking on Quality of Life Survey: #13 (#1 Ireland and #2 Switzerland)- The Economist Magazine ...Wikipedia "Celtic Tiger" if you still have your doubts.

USA Ranking on Environmental Sustainability Index: #45 (#1 Finland and #2 Norway)- Yale University ESI 2005

USA Ranking on Overall Currency Strength: #3 (US Dollar) (#1 UK pound sterling and #2 European Union euro)- FTSE 2006....the dollar is now a liability, so many banks worldwide have planned to switch to euro

USA Ranking on Infant Mortality Rate: #32 (#1 Sweden and #2 Finland)- Save the Children Report 2006

USA Ranking on Human Development Index (GDP, education, etc.): #10 (#1 Norway and #2 Iceland)- UN Human Development Report 2005

USA Ranking on Peacefulness 96# (#1 Norway #2 New Zealand, #3Denmark, #4 Ireland, and #5 Japan.) Economist Intelligence Unit

So much for those "socialist" Europeans and those "backward" Asians, hm? We can do better than this. Miscellany: *Only 18% of Americans own passports and bother to travel outside of the US. * 85% of US soldiers in Iraq believe that they are there to get revenge for 9/11. * New international student enrollment in US grad schools has decreased by 6%, because of xenophobic post-9/11 US visa restrictions, jacked-up tuition fees and better educational opportunities in the EU and Asia. So no, not everyone wants to come here anymore, because it's become a land of incredibly limited opportunity, and we've lowered our educational standards.


The US government loves to help other countries.


This is a myth. The US government tends to be motivated by interests, not humanitarian principles. Denmark gives the most amount of its GDP (1.01%) to developing countries; Norway gives 0.91%; the Netherlands give 0.79% and so on until the end of list, where the USA sits. Yes, America ranks DEAD LAST in foreign aid at a pathetic 0.1% of its GDP, compared to the other 21 nations listed as developed nations. The idea that the US government is a heroic bunch that runs around the world helping the poor and the disempowered is not backed up by the evidence. We have one of the stingiest governments on earth. Most Americans believe the US spends 24% of its budget on aid to poor countries; the actual amount is well under a quarter of 1%. Our country also ranks #5 on asylum-seeker acceptance rates (#1 is Denmark and #2 is Canada). For you self-congratulatory, redneck-inspired conservative *beep* who will start to say, "B-b-b-but you're anti-American! M-m-m-moonbat! G-g-g-god bless the USA!" I answer, "Go *beep* yourself. We can do better." Stop blindly believing everything your president tells you. Come back to us only when you start realizing that the $400 billion your president has allocated to his Roman Empire-style military overstretch could be better spent on correcting the sociopolitical and economic problems in the arenas that I've listed above. For you fellow liberals: Help your reps and senators take back Congress, and stop dithering while the political tides are turning in your favor right now. The conservatives are terrified now; TAKE advantage of that. And don't waste time trying to explain rational things to any homophobic Christians, or hyper-patriotic losers who wave and cheapen our American flag only for a self-esteem buzz, or those testosterone-filled, gullible, culturally-ignorant military recruiter robots who lack even a basic intelligence. THEY CANNOT BE REASONED WITH. They don't understand statistics, elaborate charts, legislative proposals or complicated scientific explanations. Just let them go. Let them go. In the meantime, Americans, stop being SHEEP and get up and do something before some bright and ambitious Chinese, Indian and the European students grow up to be international leaders and make your lazy, self-absorbed kids irrelevant on the world stage. (NOTE: I didn't write this, I copied and pasted it, but I'd sure like to shake the hand of the original author) (so would I)

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Chavez puts his foot down

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has finally moved to against Radio Caracas Television and Globovison. He has not closed them down, he has simply refused to renew the licences of these seditious elements and frankly I'm surprised that it took him so long to silence them.
This is not an issue of free speech as some agencies would have you believe. They can still broadcast, but not on public airwaves. They are able to use cable.
But of course that doesn't stop Human Rights Watch and various journalists' organisations trying to make it an issue of freedom of speech. Their fires were fanned when last week Chavez moved to count these two stations among "enemies of the homeland".
It's interesting to see the spin put on this issue by the multinational foreign press agencies. The one-sided coverage makes Chavez to be a capricious dictator, bent on stifling freedom of speech in his country without any reason. This is just not true.
RCTV was an institution in Venezuela, being the first station to have live from satellite images and having produced Radio Rochela a long running political satire, and a very popular soap opera Por Estas Calles.
But the facts of the issue are that RCTV is controlled by the very rich Marcel Granier, president of the 1BC Group, which controls about 40 radio and TV channels, an outspoken critic of the democratically elected president.
Outspoken is one thing, sedition is another.
Garnier and his cronies have been hit hard by Chavez and his "Bolivarian Revolution", and must see the writing on the wall for their over-the-top lifestyles. Needless to say RCTV was not given to showing anything positive about Chavez.
But during the violence in April, 2002, in which there was an attempted coup against the President, and some well respected American news channels revealed themselves as a biased government lackeys, RCTV stepped well over the line.
Two days before the coup attempt it took its usual programmes off the air and ran 24 hour coverage of the strikes aimed to oust Chavez. For comment they allowed a slew of "commentators" to attack him but did not allow him or the government to respond.
That is not journalism.
Then this media icon ran adverts encouraging people to attend the march on April 11 aimed and once again gave events minute by minute coverage. Just vitally interested in home events? I think not.
Add to that the coverage of the violence in which they ran doctored videos to blame Chavez supporters for the deaths and injuries and you see where suddenly the respected 4th estate becomes a polecat. Doctoring images is forbidden.
On the flip side, when Chavez left the scene for a few days and military rebels claimed a "victory" over the President, Chavistas took to the streets demanding his reinstatement. RCTV didn't cover that.
At National Assembly hearings after the fact Andres Izarra, the RCTV News Director, testified that he had been given orders from his bosses: "Zero pro-Chavez, nothing related to Chavez or his supporters…. The idea was to create a climate of transition and to start to promote the dawn of a new country.” So while the rioting and mayhem was going on, his station ran movies and cartoons.
It's interesting to note that Pedro Carmona - who was installed to replace the democratically elected Chavez - basically destroyed the country's Supreme Court, Constitution and National Assembly. Yet Granier was there among the other media chiefs at the Miraflores palace to pledge support for him.
In what western country would a radio station be allowed to operate that attempted to violently depose the democratically elected president?

But Chavez has allowed RCTV to continue to operate for five years now.
He has not shut the station down so much as declined to let it use public airwaves. It can still broadcast on cable.
Most Venezuelan media are still controlled by the old money and are still anti-Chavez - and they still operate.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Battle at the Kruger

This is some of the most incredible wildlife footage I've ever seen.

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