Monday, February 27, 2006

Time for Washington to Show Its Appreciation to El Salvador

Washington must demonstrate to [El Salvador's] President Saca that the special relationship between the two countries is something more than rhetorical.

This week, President Elias Antonio Saca begins a trip to the United States from which he hopes to return with some guarantee of the entry into force of the Free Trade Accord (CAFTA) with this country, and with some sign of hope for the normalization of the migratory status of our countrymen.

El Salvador has a privileged relationship with the United States, in part for our practically unconditional alliance with Washington's foreign policy, and in part due to the enormous importance of the thousands of Salvadorians that send home almost $3 billion a year in payments, which are so vital to our national economy.

However, the Bush Administration must somehow acknowledge this special relationship with El Salvador. We are the only Latin American country that still has troops in Iraq, and which is held up as an example by the North American Administration in the anti-terror alliance. But beyond this rhetoric, Salvadorians would like the satisfaction of seeing that the sacrifices of our solders in that Arab nation are worthwhile, by having the U.S. guarantee funding for the Millennium Challenge Account for vital development projects.

[Editor's Note: The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was introduced by President Bush in 2002, and seeks to 'Reward Good Policy' and 'Reduce Poverty' through 'Economic Growth.' [RealVideo].

The immigration issue is vital to nearly a quarter million of our countrymen [living there], and the members of their families who remain here. By extending the Statute of Temporary Protection, (known by its initials in English as TPS), will be an indication that we really are a special ally of the United States, and not only a name to be mentioned in their speeches. We are aware of the complications that immigration entails in domestic North American politics, but El Salvador doesn’t have the means to absorb the number of deported people a cancellation of the TPS would bring.

Putting CAFTA into practice must not be delayed any longer. El Salvador has an advantage over the rest of the region, thanks to the private business sector and the government, which has taken serious action and applied itself to reforming its laws and establishing agricultural standards, which is vital to furthering commercial compatibility.

Yes we need to support our allies on the GWOT. Although it may be hard to grant TPS to their countrymen and not extend the same to the other countries involved, it should be something to consider.

It is hard for a country to limit its citizens from leaving. Build a wall to keep them in as prisoners. So I don't blame Mexico for causing our immigration problems with their citizens. But I can blame them for when they assist or turn a blind eye to the situation. They know perfectly well who the Coyotes are and support their efforts. Also the comic book on how to cross the border.

I can also blame Mexico for not protecting their border from crossings and then the OTM (other than Mexicans) must be paid for by the US to send back to their country of origin.

But we should be helping our allies and enforce the CAFTA rules, and maybe a special gift worker program for consideration in their help.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Islamic Respect for all the Prophets and Beliefs

From title link:
JEFFREY BROWN: Mr. Younis, starting with you, why has a set of cartoons upset so many people?

Bio-Ahmed Younis
AHMED YOUNIS: This goes to the very core of who we are. This transcends boundaries of religiosity; it transcends boundaries of tradition and culture. Muslims come from everywhere around the world. Only 20 percent of us are of Arab origin, and really what we're attempting to say is: This is exactly what Muslims around the world have been saying consistently, that when our prophet is attacked, when the very basis of how we see ourselves is attacked, we see ourselves as the followers of the Prophet Abraham, the Prophet Moses, the Prophet Jesus, the Prophet Muhammad, all respected equally, all revered equally, and when those individuals are attacked or when God is attacked, then we feel that our very identity, the very core of our beliefs are under assault, and the only thing that we can do in response is to speak out for our rights.

When I first heard this interview I was dumbfounded that this learned man could say such things. As we will see Islamic believers do not treat all the prophets in the same regard. All are equal but some are more equal than others. Yes, speak out for your rights but are the riots part of those rights? If the cartoons is beyond boundaries of religiosity then why no violence over Piss Christ or The Holy Virgin with Elephant Dung?

The argument that Muslims are stating is that we do not put down your prophets and hold them in as much regard as Mohammed. Of course this means that the religious beliefs/symbols are fodder for ridicule and shame. As in:
in Palestinian Authority Newspapers

Under Muslim Hypocricy
Anti-Semitic Images in the Egyptian Media

Many of the above links had the Star of David.
The Star of David (Hebrew: מגן דוד translit.: Magen David, Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation: Mogen Dovid, literally: "Shield of David"; Arabic: نجمة داوود translit.: Najmat Dawuud), also known as the Seal of Solomon or "Symbol of Solomon (Arabic:خاتم سليمان, Khatam Sulayman), is a generally recognized symbol of Judaism and Jewish identity and is also known colloquially as the Jewish Star.

It has been used also in Islam as well as the Eastern Religions.

Now if the cartoons had strictly used the Star of David on the flag you could say it was an attack on Israel the country. But as we can see it is aimed as Jews. So does this not "go to the very core of who we are." as explained by a Jew?

So now comes the question as to whether Muslims hold Jesus as in as high of esteme as Mohammed? We saw the dipiction of Christ earlier but was a Western (USA) creation. Below provided by

Cartoon: From PA's largest daily, Al Quds

A political cartoon depicting the Palestinians and Iraqis as victims of crucifixion by the United States has been published in the Palestinian Authority's largest daily, Al Quds.

The PA often uses imagery comparing Palestinians to Jesus, according to Palestinian Media Watch, which said the cartoon appeared in the paper this week.

The figures are nailed to a cross back to back, with the Palestinian bearing the thought, "Brother from Iraq," and the Iraqi, "Relative from Palestine."

And also look at slide 11 at: ADL-Stop the Hypocrisy.
Likening the crucifixion of Christ to the Israeli Treatment of Palestinians. Al-Dustur(Jordan) July 2004

Now of course there is no picture of Jesus but the symbolism is still there. The cross is a symbol of the Christian Faith. It is not like crucifixion is widely used today or even in the past 1000 years. It can only mean Jesus dying on the cross. No ambiguity as to the meaning. But how can they justify using the cross if they know what it means?

From What You Must Know about Islam:
2. Denies the crucifixion.

Surah 4:157-158: "They slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them…but Allah took him unto Himself."

Muslim scholars have long taught (although the Quran itself is unclear on this point) that it was Judas, not Jesus who died on the cross!

Thus on the one hand they deny that Jesus died on the cross and was the son of God, but still use the symbol of the cross to portray others as evil.

All religions/beliefs (in the minds of Muslims) are equal but some are more equal than others.

What You MUST KNOW about ISLAM
ADL-cartoons Note cartoon 11.
Star of David-Wiki
Catholics urge South Park boycott
Remember Biafra
On Respect and Disrespect
Palestinians, Iraqis Compared to Jesus, PA paper's cartoon depicts them as crucified victims of U.S.
Arise the Khalsa!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Politics Test/Political Maps

HT to
The title link is to another political map questionaire. It is a bit long at about 50 questions including a short number of demographic questions. Interesting but still lacks a good map of grouping similar thoughts together. Below is the results of the blogger from ProgressNow.

Although the map of the famous people on the map is just subjective, it shows some bias by the presenters. Look at the religious leaders. A strong supporter of the family with an exhaustive family background in the Babtist ministry is placed on the far left as ultra permissive in social spectrum (Martin Luther King, Jr.). But we do not know what his stand on abortion, gay rights, affirmative action...
What would Martin Luther King do?
Would any of the modern Babtist ministers placed in the same area? Second it is nearly slanderous to place Jerry Falwell next to Bin Laden. Now I know that you could say some of his statements are out of the mainstream, but honestly did Jerry kill Larry Flynt when he was ridiculed in Larry's magazines or issued a fatwa?

You are a

Social Liberal
(70% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(76% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Has any group indentified themselves as a totalitarian form of government? This chart shows Stalin and Mao as totalitarians when in reality they were socialist? And most fascists did not believe in free trade and open markets and wanted government to control (if not own) all aspects of the economy for the good of the mother country. Standard procedure to paint republicans as fascist even though it is more closely tied to socialism.

And of course the left tries to paint the picture that libertarians are closely related to anarchist. But there are more groups that are anarchist from the left IMHO.

In closing I want to put the comments by the site here:
Explanation Of Results

We wanted to get beyond the two catch-alls of American politics, the Democratic and Republican parties, and see where people actually stand. Parties can bring together people with marginally differing values and make collective action easier. But party platforms can misrepresent their constituents, and blind loyalty to a party can convince individuals to harbor inconsistent views.

The goal of this test was to exactly classify your personal politics, without the traditional labels. We avoided the edgy party issues and focused on fundamental values. Your score is a measure of what you believe in, economically and socially.

Higher permissiveness, on either axis, indicates a "live and let live" philosophy. Of course, we're almost conditioned in America, "Land of the Free", to think positively of such a philosophy. But practically speaking, permissiviness (or its opposite, regulation) can create any number of outcomes:

For example, on the economic axis, a highly permissive system, like the American system of the early 1900s, might mean things like low taxes and increased scientific innovation. It might also result, as it did back then, in unrestricted child labor and millions of poor people with black lung.

At the other end of the economic spectrum, a highly regulated system might conserve the environment, establish national health care, and eliminate poverty. But as we've learned from the Soviet system, extreme regulation can also lead to stagnation, sameness, and unhappiness.

Sorry one last comment. Highly regulated systems (totalitarian/socialist/fascist) tend to be the lowest on environmental preservation. And I would say even the health care and elimination of poverty was poor under most of those systems also.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Some verses of "The Holy Qur'an"

As a suggestion from Miles, I wanted to look at these verses that he said were of importance. Each verse will be followed by the commentary with reference numbers provided. Verses will be noted by a colon, and commentary is just a single number. The book is from the "Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia."

The first thing for me to overcome is that the book is opposite in pages turn from left to right, and the front of the book is the back as western books are.

2:39 "But those who reject Faith
Amd belie our signs
They shall be Comapions of the Fire;
They shall abide therin."
57 As their rejection of faith was deliberate and definite, so the cosequences must be a punishment of an abiding character.

It does not look like a tolerant passage.

2:40 O Children of Israel! call to mind
The (special) favour I bestowed
Upon you, andfulfil your Covenant
58. The appeal is made to Israil subjectively in terms of their own tradition. You claim to be a favoured nation: have you forgotten My favours? You claim a special Covenant with Me: I have fulfilled My part of the Covenant by bringing you out of the land of bondage and giving you Canaan, the land "flowing with mild and honey": how have you fufilled your part of the Covenant? Do you fear for your national existence? If you fear Me, nothing else will matter.

Now we go on to the Children of Israel (Jews), this passage and commentary makes it seem that Jews have to follow the words of Mohammed. They do not consider him a prophet and as such have no reason to follow his words. I am not familiar enough with what they refer to as the "Covenant". But it does look as if this book indicates that Jews must abide by the Qur'an or lose their national identity.
This also brings up an interesting issue that if the Mohammed identified the "Covenant" back then then Israel has an established right to exist according to the Qur'an.
Oooops wrong passage according to Miles.

2:190 Fight in the cause of Allah
Those who fight you
But do not transgress limits;
For Allah loveth not transgressors.
204. War is permissible in self-defence, and under well-defined limits. When undertaken, it must be pushed with vigour, but not relentlessly, but only to restore peace and freedom for the worship of Allah. In any case strict limits must not be transgressed: women, children, old and infirm men should not be molested, nor trees and crops cut down, nor peace withheld when the enemy comes to terms.

Makes sense, but this deffinitely does not condone terrorism as many of the victims are women and children.

2:191 And slay them
Whenever ye catch them,
And turn them out
From where the have
Turned you out;
For Persecution
Is worse than slughter;
But fight them not
At the Sacred Mosque,
Unless the (first)
Fight you there;
But if the fight you,
Slay them.
Such is the reward of those who reject faith
205. (Edited) In general, it may be said that Islam is the religion of peace, goodwill, mutual understanding, and good faith. But it will not aquiesce in wrong-doing, and its men will hold their lives cheap in defence of honour, justice, and the religion which they hold sacred.
206. Supress faith: in the narrower as well as the larger sense! If they want forcibly to prevent you from exercising your sacred rites, they have declared war on your religion, and it would be cowardice to ignore the challenge or to fail in rooting out the tyranny.

Makes me wonder why so many Mosques in Iraq were used as staging locations for the terrorists? Considering lives in the cheap seems to promote terrorism to me.
On 206, so anything that may or does prevent someone from worshiping his faith may lead to war. Maybe this is why the cartoons may lead to war, and that innocent women were threatened with beheading over Muslim dress in secular schools in France.

2:192 But if they cease,
Alah is Oft-Forgiving,
Most Merciful.
2:193 And fight them on
Until there is no more
And the religion becomes Allah's.
But if they cease,
Let there be no hostility
Except to those
Who Practise oppression.
207. The Arabic word is Din, which is comprehensive. It implies the ideas of indebtedness, duty, obedience, judgment, justice, faith religion, customary rights, etc. The clause means: "until there is Din, for Allah."

No mention of forgiveness.

6:104 "Now have come to you,
From you Lord proofs
(To open your eyes):
If any will see,
It will be for (the good
Of) his own soul:
If any will be blind,
It will be to his own
(Harm): I am not (here)
To watch over your doings."

Not sure what this passage means. It seems to suggest that if you do not believe then harm will come to you but I am not here to watch over you as Christians believe God does.

8:39 And fight them on
Until there is no more
And religion becomes
Allah's in its entirety
But if they cease, verily Allah
Doth see all that they do.
1208. If the cease from fighting and from persecution of truth, Allah judges them by their actions and their motives, and would not wish that they should be harassed with further hostility. But if they refuse all terms, the righteous have nothing to fear Allah will help and protect them.

Religion to me is an establishment of a hierarchy. But Christianity is devotion to God's word.
This passage seems to imply that Allah will only be happy if all worship him and come to "all terms" that Islamic teachers dictate.

8:61 But if the enemy
Incline towards peace,
Do thou (also) incline
Towards peace, and trust
In Allah: for He is the One
That heareth and knoweth
(All things).
1228. While we must always be ready for the good fight lest it be forced on us, even in the nidst of the fight we must always be ready for peace if there is any inclination towards peace on the other side. There is no merit merely in a fight by itself. It should be a joyful duty not for itself, but extablish the reign of peace and righteousness and Allah's Law.

Joy seems to be a funny word to describe going to war. Of course many suicide bombers considered it joy by helling out praises to Allah as they killed innocent people.

8:62 Should they intend
To decieve thee,-verily Allah
Sufficeth thee: He it is
That hath strengthened thee
With His aid and
With (the company of)
The Believers,
1229. In working for peace there may be a certain risk of treachery on the other side. We must take that risk: because the men of Faith have Allah's aid to count upon and the strength of the united body of the righteous.
I guess the question is: if Muslims are to put their faith in Allah then why do the Palestinians intigate suicide bombings. Sounds like many of those attacks are preemtive and not reactionary.

17:7 If you did well,
Ye did well for yourselves;
If ye did evil,
(Ye did it) against yourselves.
So when the second
Of the warnings cam to pass,
(we permitted your enemies)
To disfigure your faces,
And to enter your Temple
As they had entered it before,
And to visit with destruction
All that fell into their power.
2177. This is a parenthetical sentence. If anyone follows Allah's Law, the benefits goes to himself: he does not bestow a favour on anyone else. Similarly evil brings its own recompense on the doer of evil.
2178. The second doom was due to the rejection of the Message of Jesus. "To disfigure you faces" means to destroy any credit or power you may have got: the face shows the personality of the man.
2179. Titus's destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was complete. He was the sone of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, and at the date of the destruction of Jerusalem, had the title of Coesar as heir to throne. He ruled as Roman Emperor from 79 to 81 A.D.
2180. Merivale in his Romans under the Empire gives a graphic account of the siege and final destruction(ed 1890,vii221-255). The population of Jerusalem was the 200,000. According to the Latin historian Tactus it was as much as 600,000. There was a famine and there were massacres. There was much fanaticism. The judgment of the Merivale is:"They" (the Jews) "were judicailly abadoned to their own passions and the punishment which naturally awaited them".

These passages seem to indicate that because of the Jews sins that they lost their lands. Thus it could be concluded that Arabs think Jews do not have a right to Israel.

18:29 Say, "Truth is
From your Lord"
Let him who will,
Believe, and let him
Who will regect (it):
For the wrong-doers We
Have prepared a Fire
Whose (smoke and flames),
LIke the walls and roof
Of a tent, will hem
Them in: if they implore
Relief they will be granted
Water like melted brass,
That will scald their faces,
How dreadful the drink!
How uncomfortable a couch
To recline on!
2371. Our choice in out limited Free-will involves a corresponding personal responsibility. We are offered the Truth: agian and again is it pressed on your attention. If we reject if, we must take all the terrible consequences which are prefigured in the Fire of Hell. Its flames and roof will completely enclose us like a tent. Ordinarily there is water to quench the heat of thirst: here the only drink will be like monten brass, thick, heavy, burning sizzling. Before it reaches the mouth of the unfortunates, drops of it will scald thir faces as it is poured out.

Again with the faces. Does this have any correlation with Nigerian custom of scaring the face of your boys?

22:39 To those against whom
War is made, permission
Is given (to fight), because
The are wronged;-and verily,
Allah is Most Powerful
For their aid;-
2816. Several translators have failed to notice that yuqatluna (in the best-approved text) is in the passive voice, "against whom war is made",-not "who take arms against the unbelievers" as Sale Translates it. The clause"and verily...their aid" is parenthetical. Verse 40 connects on with "they are wronged". The wrong is idicated:'driven by persecution from their home, for no other reason than that they worshipped the One True God.' This was the first occasion on which fighting-in self defence-was permitted. This passage therefore undoubtedly dates from Madinah.

Yes it understandable that all religions have to say that they worship the "True God". Every meme to gain strength must say that they are better than other memes.

76:3 We showed him the Way:
Whether he be grateful
Or ungrateful.
5833. Besides the gift of the faculties. Man has been shown the Way by means of Revelation, through men of the highest spiritual standing. If he is grateful, he will accept Guidance, be of the Righteous, and join the company of the Blessed. If not, he puts chains round himself, thus burdening himself with sin, and gets into the Blazing Fire of Punishment.

Much of the foundation of Islamic and Christian faiths are the same and as such we see the "gifts" that are mentioned. But now who decides who the "men of highest spiritual standing". I think it is safer for people to read and understand their Bible and not told what to believe. It will always be a need for teachers, but there is a line between teaching an instructing as to "The only Way".

I am not sure why these passages were choosen by Miles, but it was interesting.

P.S.: 2:256 Let there be no compulsion
In religion: Truth stands out
Clear from Error: whoever
Rejects Tagut (300-a Tagut here means anything worshipped beside Allah.
and believes
In Allah hath grasped
The most trustworthy
Hand-hold that never breaks.
And Allah heareth
And knoweth all things.

300.Compulsion is incompatible with religion: because (religion depends upon faith and will, and these would be meaningless if induced by force: (2) Truth and Error have been so clearly shown up by the mercy of Allah that there should be no doubt in the minds of any persons of goodwill as to the fundamentals of faith; (3) Allah's protection is continuos, and His Plan is always to lead us [strike]t[/strike] (f)rom the depths of darness in to the clearest light.

They have some typos. Yes this would support your points of view.
From my upbringing the word "religion" was more or less a bad word. It described a man made institution and not a description of how man and God communicates.

The second verse is already on my blog. And yes you are correct, but I wonder what was meant by "We" in:
For the wrong-doers We
Have prepared a Fire

Saturday, February 18, 2006

More in Depth Results of Political Compass Poll

From discussions at Thom Hartman Blog, I was asked about my high positive number of economic axis (+7.38). Today I want to take the test and all economic questions to consider in this blog. For each question the answers can be Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree or Strongly Agree.

1.If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.
Disagree. Of course this sounds heartless, but first all corporations or business in a sense will be trans-national if they do export business. So do I insist that help serve humanity or the business, no. Only that business serves mankind and as such should be the primary interest. Of course this needs to be tempered in a democratic societies that have the ultimate say in trade and commerce.

5. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Strongly Disagree. Too many times in history that has proven false. But it should be easy to see the other sides goals and if your goals match up then it makes sense on a limited basis to join your enemy. Afghanistan is a perfect example.

6. Military action that defies international law is sometimes justified.
Agree. Virtually any action internationally is defying the laws (IMHO). As such if another side violates international law, then any counter action will result in some violations. Gulf War I could be an example.

7. There is now a worrying fusion of information and entertainment.
Strongly Disagree. If that is what people want then that is what they should get. The only caveat is that when information is provided by a source then that source should be identified, much like labeling laws in products. I have no problem with the White House releasing videos or any other media about their position as long as it is clearly defined. Many times I want unedited transcripts and information directly from the source not through 2-10 news handlers before it reaches me.

8. People are ultimately divided more by class than by nationality.
Agree. People in the same class (economics) tend to have more in common than nationality or race. But not the only dividing line.

9. Controlling inflation is more important than controlling unemployment.
Disagree. Some inflation is good but unemployment is always bad above a certain level. Knowing what that level is a complex issue. This leads to my Marxist has one good point. That the individual's self worth is important in having a job. Jobs are not just a disincentive (negative utility), but are a sense of belonging and accomplishment as productive members of society.

10. Because corporations cannot be trusted to voluntarily protect the environment, they require regulation.
Strongly Disagree. This comes to an issue of what are regulations? To me regulations are the exact rules that govern a corporation. But defining property rights and allowing free people to negotiate within a framework, is not regulation. So no they can be trusted as long as others have well defined property rights.

11. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a fundamentally good idea.
Strongly Disgree. Basically communism. The questions become as to who decides these levels. Animal Farm!

12. It's a sad reflection on our society that something as basic as drinking water is now a bottled, branded consumer product.
Strong Disagree. If people want to pay for any said product then who are we to say it is bad or good. If this is truly what people want and they derive utility from such purchases then it makes perfect sense. With the caveat that the price truly reflects what external costs may be assiciated with the product.

13. Land shouldn't be a commodity to be bought and sold.
Stongly Disagree!!! All I want to say on this is "trajedy of the commons". Something that is not owned by "all" is owned by no one and as a result nobody has an incentive to protect it.

14. It is regrettable that many personal fortunes are made by people who simply manipulate money and contribute nothing to their society.
Strongly Disagree. Being a student of economics then I see that they do contribute to society (assuming that everything is legal). Arbitrage is an important aspect of economies that direct resources to where they are most needed in a timely fashion. As far as speculation that also is a good force since speculation tends to be a stabilizing force in the long run. Bad speculators will loose and good ones will win. The market will take of this in the long run.

15. Protectionism is sometimes necessary in trade.
Strongly Disagree. There really are no long term valid reasons for protectionism. As with most things there is a caveat. There may need to be a transition time frame to allow the economy to adjust. And if a nation experiences wide fluctuations in their economy for going global, then safeguards need to be in place.

16.The only social responsibility of a company should be to deliver a profit to its shareholders.
Disagree. It is not only, because they do have employees. But this does not mean that social responsibility is a primary goal or even a very important one, only that it should be considered in a cultural context.

17. The rich are too highly taxed.
Agree. As last I looked that would be my answer. Of course I believe that we should be raising some taxes now to follow the Fed's lead. The death tax elimination although was not something I endorsed or supported. This would have been nice to have a no opinion or neutral answer.

18. Those with the ability to pay should have the right to higher standards of medical care .
Strongly Agree. Our economic system is founded on you purchase what you want and if the rich want to spend more on health then that is their choice. They can be a positive to driving the ecnonomy in different directions. Only the rich could afford TV's, Microwave Ovens, Cars, etc. but all in time became available to everyone.

19. Governments should penalise businesses that mislead the public.
Agree. Yes if they violate the law then they should pay. But if we are simply bothered by their free speech rights to advertise then I would disagree.

20. A genuine free market requires restrictions on the ability of predator multinationals to create monopolies.
Strongly Disagree. This shows some bias in the questions, because of the highly charged phrase "predator multinationals". While I let others pass, this one I wanted to point out. There are other ways to fight a monopoly other than restrictions. One could be get another monopoly in a different technology to compete. If the land line telephone you don't like then switch to cable! Secondly, even if it is a monopoly, does this neccesarily mean that they are extorting money. They may be providing better services at lower prices-as any monopoly is possible to provide.

21. The freer the market, the freer the people.
Strongly Agree. Without getting into all the studies, yes freer markets lead to more freedoms overall than not. But we must again temper this with a strong dose of liberal democracy.

26. Taxpayers should not be expected to prop up any theatres or museums that cannot survive on a commercial basis.
Strongly Agree. Supporters of such subsidies talk about the positive externalities, which I disagree that there are any of substance. Usually it subsidizes endeavors for the rich anyway.

31. Marijuana should be legalised.
Strongly Agree. I support this not only on libertarian principles but that this is a drain on our economy that could be a productive revenue generator for the government.

39. What's good for the most successful corporations is always, ultimately, good for all of us.
Strongly Agree. That is assuming that the corporations in question did it legally and ethically. We can see that Microsoft has provided billions of people benefit from their software development. And they have been rewarded hadsomely.

40. No broadcasting institution, however independent its content, should receive public funding.
Agree. They used absolutes again, but I still think that if people wanted independent content then they should pay for it.

? Multinational companies are unethically exploiting the plant genetic resources of developing countries.
Disagree. I have heard it in the news, but knowing how the patent laws are, they can not just find a chemical and claim a patent on it. Most of the times I have read, they perfected a process of refinement of the chemical. Which means others could get more patents on the plant extracts. Fight fire with fire and don't give up.

? Charity is better than social security as a means of helping the genuinely disadvantaged.
Agree. The more direct the funding the more likely that it will be used most efficiently, or bring more unused resources to solve the problems. Having a government 1000's of miles of way to allocate to the local needs does not even seem to make sense.

Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: 4.63
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.54

It looks like it changed from last time with more Libertarian in the social scale. Maybe I just took less effort and went with gut instincts. But a bigger change was a drop in economic freedom from 7.38 to 4.63. I am not sure of the reason for the change.

Different Political Spectrums

Friday, February 17, 2006

Much adoo about nothing/Man Shot by Cheney Is Discharged From Hospital

Harry Whittington apologized today for the deep distress he caused the vice president by getting ... you know ... shot by him, according to the Associated Press.

While it is ironic that a man struck with buckshot apologizes, it is still his choice to do so. He put himself in the other persons shoes and realized that no one wants to be in either position. Just like you hurt a friend or relative, many times the person that caused the accident would much rather be in the victims place. In this case both were victims, Cheney by the media and Whittington by Cheney. I did see his marks that look bad but definitely not life threatening.

Next up: A private, invitation-only fundraiser will be held at the Armstrong Ranch to provide money for Mr. Cheney's onerous therapy bills. (Only squirt guns and beer allowed on premises.)

In other news, Nancy Kerrigan offered an apology to Tonya Harding for ice-skating in her vicinity and asbestos victims offered Halliburton a heart-felt mea culpa for breathing while on the job.

Obviously they are having fun at Kos, but isn't this just over the top. If someone wants to express themselves freely to the press then why should we question his motives?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Muslim Hypocrisy/Western Hypocrisy

I wanted to have this post to present some of the links I think are of noted iterest concerning the above topic. In addition to the below links the board link above may have graphic material that is not suitable for sensitive people.

Next trendy jeans logo?
So the main point of this post is to look at the Anti-Christian Jeans Are a Trend in Sweden.

Satanic logo not hurting sales of Swedish jeans
Designer hopes to spread anti-Christian message; others just like the style

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A punk-rock style, trendy tight fit and affordable price have made Cheap Monday jeans a hot commodity among young Swedes, but what has people talking is the brand’s ungodly logo: a skull with a cross turned upside down on its forehead.

The jeans’ makers say it’s more of a joke, but the logo’s designer said there is a deeper message.

“It is an active statement against Christianity,” Bjorn Atldax told The Associated Press. “I’m not a Satanist myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion.”trendy jeans logo?

It looks pretty openly hostile to Christianity, including icons of religion that represents Jesus on the cross.
Atldax insists he has a purpose beyond selling denim: to make young people question Christianity, which he called a “force of evil” that had sparked wars throughout history.

Such a remark might incite outrage or prompt retailers to drop the brand in more religious countries.

So comparing it to Muslems that rioted and killed, no one died and I did not even see any protests, even when the Christian religion was called a "force of evil".

Even the country’s largest church, the Lutheran Church of Sweden, reacts with a shrug.

“I don’t think it’s much to be horrified about,” said Bo Larsson, director of the church’s Department of Education, Research and Culture.

“It is abundantly clear that this designer wants to create public opinion against the Christian faith. ... But I believe that the way to deal with this is to start a discussion about what religion means.”

Other Christians, however, are calling for a tougher stance against the jeans.

“One cannot just keep quiet about this,” said the Rev. Karl-Erik Nylund, vicar of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Stockholm. “This is a deliberate provocation (against Christians), and I object to that.”

Nylund complained that Swedish companies don’t treat Christianity with the same respect they afford other religions.

“No one wants to provoke Jews or Muslims, but it’s totally OK to provoke Christians,” he said.

I think the last statement says it all, but I would say that even the Jews are not likely to kill people over disrespecting their religion. And if they did Israel would have bombed(nuked) Egypt by now.

Hat tip to:
The Christian Mind/Satanic Jeans Update
Moonbattery/Satanic Fashion

PS (1-10-08): I hate spam especially on my blog but I did note that it related to my blog post so here's to: WWJW (What Would Jesus Wear?)… Genesis jeans!

Muslim Hypocrisy III
Believe it or Else!
Danish Cartoons
Egyptian Media
Cartoons, Religion and Free Speech — A Global Perspective
Cartoon jihad is not about hate censorship but the idiosyncratic dogma of one particular faith
US Lawmakers Condemn Taliban Treatment Of Hindus
Danish Cartoon Affair: Letter from a Muslim

The Christian Mind: Satanic Jeans Update

The Christian Mind: Satanic Jeans Update

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Liberal Memes

There are a few memes that I have recognized in liberal circles.
1. Jealousy. They often state facts as they indicate something bad, but in reality it is just jealousy. What difference does it make that Bill Gates has 10 billion, 20,30,40,50 billion? His money is not stolen out of your pocket.

2. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. They manage to be able to complain about both sides of an issue but not even state which might be the best plan of action.

Case in point:
Balance of solar power
In the sunny desert of Nevada, two companies are planning an 18-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant -- the biggest such project in the world, like, ever. The biggest purchaser? The military. Cause let's face it: Even when the oil runs out, we're still gonna want to kill people. Grist

So since the military is doing something good for the environment it gets criticized. If they had not done anything, then environmentalist would complain that the "military industial complex" is doing nothing to propect the enviroment.

I guess they think the solution is no military, but sorry that is not a solution and when reality is in play not 1% of US citizens would want no defense.

So instead of praising that the military is purchasing solar plants, they criticize the purposes of a military. Of course the more the market purchases such tehnology the more likely that per unit prices will drop and make many projects more feasible.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Muslim Hypocracy I

I know that many bloggers are already onto the Cartoon Row, but I just want to save a spot for some notable ones of anti-Jewish and/or Christian cartoons. Unfortunately this blog does not have a fold/unfold feature. This would enable to hide and unhide information.

Arab News in April 2005 portrays the Jews as rats.

Here I believe is one of the Nazi propaganda cartoons against the Jews:

Monday, February 06, 2006

How one mine could save a Romanian town/Haiti-DR

SAN FRANCISCO - Can economic development enhance environmental quality? That's the big question being worked out in the tiny village of Rosia Montana in Romania - a place of enormous natural beauty and grinding poverty, atop one of the largest gold deposits in the world. And that's the challenge, as mining practices employed from the regimes of Caesar through Ceaucescu have left the region's people washing their kitchen garden vegetables - and watching their children play - in a river running red with toxic tailings.

As a reasonable condition of Romania's entry into the EU on Jan. 1, 2007, the unsustainable state-run mine will be shut down. With unemployment in the area at 50 percent - and expected to rise to over 90 percent when the mine closes - the consequences are severe.

So, too, is the environmental impact, as Romania lacks the resources to clean up Rosia's soil and water supply, and the EU could only put the site toward the end of a list of hundreds.

Enter Gabriel Resources, a Canadian company petitioning the Romanian government for permission to develop a new mine at Rosia. In contrast to the environmentally destructive Freeport-McMoRan - which contracted the Indonesian military to cordon off a corner of Papua and perpetuate its mining abuses - Gabriel proposes to submit an independent environmental and social impact assessment by a Romanian and international panel, bring in the best modern technology, operate to standards that meet or exceed those of Romania and the EU, and fund the cleanup of 2,000 years of uncontrolled mining. Total investment would be more than $770 million, with revenue to Romanian companies exceeding $1 billion.

You'd imagine such a prospect would prompt a spirited and serious exchange of ideas. But when Gabriel tried to enter the forum with a TV ad explaining its intentions, activists from the antimine NGO Alburnus Maior filed a complaint with Romania's National Council for media, declaring Gabriel's ad "immoral" and petitioning to have it pulled and the stations running it fined. While the National Council rejected that claim 9 to 1, Alburnus drove mass e-mail into affiliates of the Discovery Channel and
National Geographic, which eventually pulled the ad.

If you think economic development and environmental protection are inevitably at odds, you're in good company. When hung up in frames of vivid conflict, such goals tend to clash in the black-hat/white-hat game that funds activists' grants, feeds Nielsen ratings, and draws advertising into adversary-hungry media. Along the way, some people have accepted the misperception that there's an inherent trade-off between economic growth and environmental integrity, when in fact they can be mutually reinforcing.

Here's how: Wealthy, democratic nations have the means to make better environmental choices. They can support a mature regulatory regime and sophisticated enforcement, and can afford the advanced technology to avert environmental degradation that poorer nations can't. And nations that protect their environmental assets reap economic rewards: While the forests of impoverished Haiti were stripped for fuel wood, the adjoining Dominican Republic preserved its environment and prospered. In Botswana and Zimbabwe, wildlife ventures have proved more profitable than cattle ranching.

Good intentions exercised irresponsibly can be even more damaging than disengagement. In Romania's case, applying censorship is an irony as toxic to free exchange as the river that runs like a red scar through Rosia Montana. The romantic prospect of "saving" a highly intelligent but impoverished people from development will have unintended consequences affecting generations there, and reinforce exactly the wrong approach in developing regions around the world.

Absent Gabriel, Rosia will be deprived of the only economic engine that can reclaim its environment. There is no Romanian Superfund.

No project like this comes without costs. A lot of earth - and in some cases, the people on it - would have to move to make it happen. As Americans were reminded last month, mining can be a dangerous business. But so is cutting off the exchange of ideas and capital in a region of the world desperate for both. Rather than assume we have to destroy a village's economy to save its ecology, allow the citizens of Romania to weigh their alternatives, and determine their economic and environmental future. They have a chance for the best of both.

• Mark Lange is a former presidential speechwriter and a student of public policy.

This was such a good example of when censorship and restrictions creates bad results. I am sure the environmentalists think they are saving the ecology of a tiny village of Rosia Montana in Romania. But as the phrase is true that "Wealth makes Healthy".

Too many times I see ecologists force their views on others instead of sitting down at the table and negotiating the best for all people. I would like to see their point of view, but their views are not more important than the either the overall health of humans and the views of the local people.

The question is will environmentalists step forward and pay for cleanup. I have a bridge that I can sell for a cheap price.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Staged III

Here is our peace activists in Santa Barbara, CA. In a way it is honorable that they are publicly making a statement. But to think that standing on a street corner in SB will stop war is delusional at best. If they really wanted to stop wars then going to Iran, Iraq, Zimbabwe, North Korea, etc would have more potential for this.

I must be the only one to actually question their motivation. Almost every time I go by I say "fergetaboutit". Just like Al Franken wanted people to say when the President spoke. They just stand there and hold out the brochures when someone goes by. In a way it was fun taking the pictures up close and personal with a flash.

I have not done it yet but I have wanted to play a tape of "The Green Berets" and play it next to them. You know wear white and play my song loud to contrast with their somber, black mood.

I think it is funny their actions. Many on the anti-war and the left in general, ask that whether the right can think for themselves and are in lockstep with Rush and other talking heads. But here we have a group that is monocolor with no communication skills other than non-verbal. They portray themselves as robots that just hand the flyers out. May I call this Ditto-Heads?