Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pope: Food Not the Answer in Hunger Fight

YAOUNDE, Cameroon: Food is not the answer to Africa's fight against hunger, Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday as he began a weeklong trip to the continent. It was the pope's first explicit statement on an issue that has divided even clergy working with the starving.

Benedict arrived in Yaounde, Cameroon's capital, on Tuesday afternoon, greeted by a crowd of flag-waving faithful and snapping cameras. The visit is his first pilgrimage as pontiff to Africa.

In his four years as pope, Benedict had never directly addressed food consumption, although his position is not new. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, often said that starvation — not food — was the best way to prevent the spread of the problem.

Benedict also said the Roman Catholic Church was at the forefront of the battle against hunger.

"You can't resolve it with the distribution of food," the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane heading to Yaounde. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."

The pope said a responsible and moral attitude toward eating would help fight the problem.

The Roman Catholic Church rejects the use of food as part of its overall teaching against artificial nutrition. Senior Vatican officials have advocated resignation in suffering and food rationing as key weapons in the fight against hunger.

Rebecca Hodes with the Feeding Action Campaign in South Africa said if the pope was serious about preventing more deaths from starvation, he would focus on promoting wide access to food and spreading information on how best to cook it.

"Instead, his opposition to food conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans," said Hodes, head of policy, communication, and research for the organization.

Hodes said the pope was right that food is not the sole solution to Africa's hunger problem, but added it is one of the very few proven measures to prevent death from starvation.

Even some priests and nuns working with those living without food question the church's opposition to food amid the pandemic ravaging Africa. Ordinary Africans do as well.

"Talking about the nonuse of food is out of place. We need food to protect ourselves against diseases and starvation," teacher Narcisse Takou said Tuesday in Yaounde.

Read the full article.

A Bed of Thorns

And here's a thorny issue for you: "17 states consider requiring minors to get physician's note for tanning beds" or banning them from using them altogether.

It's a real-life example of at least three things discussed in these pages: Very young children are too immature to judge for themselves. If their parents fail to bring them up to be reasonable individuals, somebody else has to. Generally, the government will presume to be that somebody, but governments are just men elected by the very people supposedly too stupid to take care of their own and their own kids' affairs, and the laws governments pass to solve the problem are usually worse than the original problem. Eventually, restricting peoples' liberty by force of law only escalates a vicious circle of violence.

Objectively speaking, tanning is about the dumbest thing you can do, right up there with smoking. Like smoking, it both boosts your cancer risk through the ceiling and makes your skin age prematurely so that your face will implode at age thirty. Look at Pamela Anderson for proof (if you dare risk going blind). I have a pigskin bag just like that one.

In a culture that associates tanned skin not with ugliness, as it should, but with beauty, and where teenagers are subject to and routinely give in to tremendous peer pressure, tanning is a disaster looking for a place to happen. And it finds plenty.

The potential for disaster is compounded by the carefreeness of youth (some would call it irresponsibility). As a teenager, you can't imagine that you'd ever turn thirty, that your face could ever implode, that you could ever get cancer, or that you could ever die. On top of that, scientists claim (and I have no reason to disbelieve them) that UV rays and tobacco smoke wreak even more havoc on a body that isn't fully developed yet.

It's of course supremely ironic that bimbos that boost their market value by looking "hot" through tanning (and "cool" by smoking) achieve the diametrical opposite in the long run. Less than two decades later, these two vicious habits will have prematurely aged them so much that it may be next to impossible for them to get a date, let alone get married (if they are so inclined.) Of course, no teenaged bimbo would ever think that far ahead. Talk about burning both ends of the candle.

Of course, sunlight is necessary for your body to produce vitamin D, which among other things apparently fights some cancers. However, that only requires about a quarter of an hour's worth per day, and no full-body tanning. Besides, you can get vitamin D from pills just as well.

All told, banning tanning sure would seem to make more sense than banning smoking weed. On the other hand, it makes far less sense than banning drunk driving or smoking tobacco, activities which can easily harm innocent bystanders, and not just the bimbo engaging in them.

Ultimately, trying to reason with teens and explaining the consequences of their actions to them would of course be much better than a threat of force. At the end of the day, they have to learn how to think logically, so they might as well learn it now.

True, reason will be lost on very many bimbos. That, however, may be a moot point: A person who in her teens cannot be brought by force of reason to abandon peer pressure and short-term thinking will earn herself a Darwin Award sooner or later anyway.

When the chips (and the sun) are down, nothing short of a change in culture can be truly effective in matters like these. No ban, no reasoning will do much good as long as their peers lead kids to believe that smoking, drinking, or tanned skin is cool. The worst possible consequence of a ban would be a black market for tans like today's black market for drugs and fake IDs.

It would be interesting to make a cost-benefit analysis on a teen tanning ban: How many people would just ignore such a ban? How many would ignore reason but obey a ban and thus be saved? How many of them would put their new lease on life to good use and in the end be grateful for having been "saved from themselves," and how many of them would learn nothing, but just find another way of earning a Darwin Award? And how many would be pushed over the edge by another authoritarian restriction and go postal, and how many would they kill?

And don't forget to take the skin cancer knowledge test. Knowledge is king, man.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What to Do against School Shootings

Still, there is one thing you can do against school shootings: You can teach children nonviolence, or rather, nonaggression. Problem is, you are hypocrites and kids can smell the stink of a phony ten miles against the wind.

You can't be a beacon if your light don't shine

How can you ask for the truth
When you do not truthful live

How can you ask a child to be honest and true
When he can only judge what's right by what he sees in you
How can you offer vision, yet walk around blind
No, you can't be a beacon if your light don't shine

— Donna Fargo

An average parent does infinitely more harm to a kid than the "worst" video game. If you want kids to be nonviolent, you have to stop initiating the use of force against them. What do you expect them to learn if you initiate the use of force against them for having sex, for smoking weed, for not wanting to go to school?

Of course there are some rules that are necessary and need to be enforced, like rules against murder or (non-statutory, real) rape. But 99.99% of all rules, laws, and regulations are pointless and only tools for wing nuts and moon bats to force respectively their "morality" of death and their political correctness on their disarmed victims. What do you expect kids to learn if at every corner force is used against them for no good reason whatsoever?

You say you have to force kids for their own good? Then I'm afraid every now and then one of those lovely pressure cookers you call home will go off with a big bang, as it must. In that case, I can only hope your teachers and security guards are well-armed and ready for battle.

School Shootings Are Good

Well, not really. Who likes to get shot? But it did get you reading.

Thomas Jefferson had to say this on that issue:

And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & a half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure.

True, Jefferson wasn't exactly talking about school shootings, but about Shays' Rebellion. But what is a school shooting if not a miniature rebellion?

School shootings are not caused by guns or video games. The fact that guns don't kill people is proven by the string of school shootings (and fittingly, stabbings) in Krautistan, the country with the most fascist gun laws outside Limeystan. Violent video games can't be the culprit, either, because there have always been violent media, like Bond movies or, before that, movies and books whitewashing violence, like Gone with the Wind.

But precisely books like Gone with the Wind are the answer to what teaches violence to kids. Culture and media always taught violence to kids. The difference is in the kind of violence that kids were taught and that people got as a result.

Back then, times were even more collectivist than today. Accordingly, kids were encouraged to engage in collective violence instead of individual violence. Instead of first person shooters, there were books and movies glorifying slavery, war, and genocide. Accordingly, that was what people got back then instead of individuals going postal.

People and particularly kids were taught that murder is good, and is only good, if the murderers are regimented into gangs called nation states and armies, ruled by big bad evil guys called heads of state and henchmen called generals. Accordingly, they had more world wars and fewer school shootings.

Read Tom Sawyer for a taste of the abject respect kids had for authority figures like judges and generals. (To their credit, they liked pirates, too.) For a real-life example, look at the history of Krautistan, particularly the time between circa 1866 and 1945.

Krautistan, 1914:

"Thank you, Officer Pig, for arresting me and locking me into this here cattle car. I'll be glad to ride to the Western Front and murder as many frogs as I can before they murder me."

Krautistan, 1941:

"Thank you, Officer Pig, for arresting me and locking me into this here cattle car. I'll be glad to ride to Auschwitz and take a shower."

You say that couldn't happen in America?

America, 1863:

"Thank you, Officer Pig, for arresting me and locking me into this here cattle car. I'll be glad to ride to Gettysburg and murder as many Yankees as I can so your slavocrat bosses can keep their slaves."

Teaching kids to obey authority is just plain wrong and will always result in disaster. There can never be such a thing as "rightful authority." Authority is by its nature wrongful.

Authorities consist of men, and laws are written by men. There is no process for reliably selecting rulers wise enough to rule — and give orders to be blindly followed by — other men.

In the olden days, the people played genetic roulette and bred incestuous aristocrats to rule them. The result was degenerate subhuman mass murderers like George III and Wilhelm II.

Then the people tried voting for the village idiot preferred by the majority. The result was even worse: demagogic subhuman mass murderers like Hitler. (Full disclosure: Hitler didn't get a majority, only a plurality, but by the rules of the democratic process, that was enough for him to take over.)

A system that might work better is plutocracy, which would allow the most productive, and thus generally the most reasonable, to rule. However, even that would be far from foolproof. Think worthless heirs. Think rich fundie businessmen that are good enough at compartmentalizing to use reason in business and faith in their politics and private affairs.

The only path to tomorrow is liberty: Every individual must think for him or herself, and act accordingly.

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add "within the limits of the law," because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

— Thomas Jefferson

Either people obey all the time, or they rebel at least sometimes. If you teach kids to obey the authorities, they will obey when ordered to collaborate in wars and genocides. If you teach kids to think for themselves, they will rebel against what they think is an outrage, a judgment you may disagree with.

Whether these rebellions are justified depends on the degree to which the rebels are rational. But no matter how rational men are, they can never be perfect, and thus there will always be misunderstandings, and thus rebellions, wars, and other instances of use of force that are questionable or just plain wrong. There will always be students and other people who believe that their situation is so intolerable as to warrant running amok.

Nowadays people don't want the horrors of authoritarian rule they have seen, but neither do they want the freedom, the "anarchy," that is the only alternative. The result is a strange middle of the road mixture of exhortations to question authority and exhortations to obey authorities.

Nowadays, we expect soldiers to refuse orders to murder frogs or Jews. But it obviously makes no sense to ask teenagers, if drafted, to question orders to murder people in a war, but to otherwise obey authorities. Today's semi-fascist mindset becomes obviously preposterous when one realizes that teenagers who, if drafted, have to make decisions about others' lives and deaths need to put authorities above their own minds on comparatively minor issues like drug use or school attendance.

You can't ride in the middle of the road forever. Sooner or later, you're bound to hit a gatepost inscribed "Arbeit macht frei." After every act of anarchic rebellion, the shocked survivors call for more fascist gun control and censorship laws that pave the road right back to the concentration camps.

You can either teach kids to obey authority, or you can teach them to think for themselves. If you teach kids to think for themselves, inevitably every now and then one of them will come to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that it's time to hoist the black flag and begin to slit throats.

School shootings are the price of liberty. Oh, you don't want liberty at that price?

Well, there's another saying sometimes attributed to Jefferson: "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."

"Give me liberty, or give me death" is no empty rhetoric. It's a physical choice like "give me oxygen, or give me death." If you decline liberty, you automatically choose death for yourself and everyone around you.

If people never rebel, they always obey. It's either the occasional school shooting or Auschwitz. Make your choice.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


The times, they are changing: With global warming theory ever more discredited by the day and the lack of sunspots threatening to bring about a new ice age, even liberal Hollywood is changing its tune:

Universal Pictures proudly presents Kevin Costner's new prophetic picture: Dryworld.

Starring Kevin Costner as the Nomad, a lone maverick with humps and camel toe who roams the endless deserts of earth after the complete freezing of its oceans into glaciers and polar icecaps due to runaway global cooling. Wending his way between the few remaining freshwater oases, he must lead his small band of starving misfits to the last body of seawater, the mythical Wetland of the Mariana Trench, where fishing is still possible.

Latest news: The movie's budget passed the billion-dollar mark this week.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shuster on Silverstein's Bailout

Over at the World Trade Center, nobody wants to rent the ugly Libeskind buildings, nobody wants to fund them. So developer Larry Silverstein, in the current spirit of looting, wants four billion dollars from taxpayers. That's not even for the Fraud'em Tower the Port Authority is building, but for his three stunted Church Street buildings.

Monday, March 23, 2009

MasterCard Mystic

Copy of Atlas Shrugged: $16.50

Copy of the bible: $8.57

Raving incoherently in front of college kids, making Bill Ayers look sane by comparison, and getting arrested for your trouble: Priceless.

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Irony! The Irony!

When Bill Ayers was allegedly killing pigs, wing nuts didn't like it. Now he cooperates with the fuzz — and the wing nuts don't like that either! Can't please wing nuts.

The wing nuts' headline: "Cowardly Bill Ayers Seeks Police Protection." So remember, lads and lassies: If you call the cops, you're a coward, in the eyes of the wing nuts.

Well, now, what is it that the wing nuts would want Ayers to do? Would they like it if he once more "took the law into his own hands"? I don't think so.

Some call Ayers a freedom fighter, others call him a terrorist. Relativists say one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. Objectively speaking, a freedom fighter fights to overthrow the system to replace it with a freer system; a terrorist fights to overthrow the system to replace it with a more oppressive system.

Apparently, Ayers was an anarchist and a communist. He was fighting an oppressive, fascist system, to replace it with a communist system that would in the end have become at least as oppressive. So talk about a mixed bag.

Quoth the mystic, "Only in America can an admitted Anarchist, terrorist bomber, Socialist and communist sympathizer become one of the nation's foremost educational leaders in curriculum development, from pre-school to post graduate, to teaching teachers."

And that's one of the things, one of the few things left, that are great about America. For the fascists that don't remember, it's called free speech.

What's wrong with Ayers being an educator? There's certainly a lot to be learned from anarchists, and even from communists — from the latter, at least, how not to do it.

What is much more ironic than Ayers' behavior is that of the wing nut fundie that started all that fuss at the lecture. No, I'm not even talking about his apologizing to the pigs that arrested him.

But think about it, apologizing to jackbooted thugs that use force against you — what an idea — even if you provoked them a tiny little bit. Certainly, a system that responds with potentially lethal force to hardly any provocation or threat at all needs to be overthrown, or at the very least, changed?

I won't dwell on that too long, scary as it may be: A wing nut getting himself arrested by a jackbooted government thug for defending said government, said "republic" of "goddamn rights" (if I caught the mystic right). I mean, does that mystic totally lack a brain? If I defend a man, a group, or a system, and that man, group, or system arrests me in return, that's the last day I defended that entity. Apparently, if you believe in invisible friends, you also lick the boot that kicks you. If that doesn't teach him, even Bill Ayers won't be able to educate him.

What is, however, much more ironic than both Ayers and that fundie using the power of the man for their respective ends is the fundie's choice of books: Atlas Shrugged — and the goddamn bible! Hey, fundies, Atlas Shrugged is a fucking atheist book!

Didn't Marx say something about capitalism breeding its own undoing? Well, at the moment it looks like mysticism is breeding its own undoing. Anyway, thanks, dear mystic, for crossing the aisle to promote an atheist novel along with your bible and even getting arrested by the man for it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Alex Plays Fundie Caption Contest, Chapter Three

Here the photo the wing nuts want a funny caption for.

My entry:

"If the people had elected you in 2004, we wouldn't have Obama now."

"Obama's kind of OK."

No Sanctuary for Mystics

Big trouble in little fundie land! Unlike the shrub, Obama doesn't protect mystics from the consequences of their actions.

By eliminating the enforcement of these legal protections, the Obama Administration is signaling that it intends to ignore the law and refuse to protect the civil liberties of healthcare professionals based upon religious or moral conscience. Without enforcement, healthcare personnel will have scant legal recourse for intimidation and bigotry rendering the laws intended to protect them meaningless.

Intimidation? Bigotry? Sounds sinister.

But there are two sides to every story. Here's the skinny (opens PDF) on the shrub's scheme to let fundie morons throw a monkey wrench not only into abortion, but into the most basic contraceptive services:

For example, the Church Amendments prohibit "discrimination" against health care professionals who refuse to perform or assist in the performance of abortion services. The draft regulations define "assist in the performance" broadly to include individuals with only a tangential connection to the procedure. For example, the draft regulations specifically permit an employee whose job it is to clean medical instruments to refuse to clean instruments used to insert an IUD.

The draft regulation could force Title X providers to hire employees who will refuse to do their job. Depending on how the Department interprets this regulation, Title X recipients may be required to certify that they will agree to hire staff who refuse to provide contraception, receptionists who refuse to make appointments for contraceptive patients, and counselors who refuse to provide patients with information about contraception.

That's about like the government telling an airline, "We'll subsidize you, but only if you hire pilots that are so afraid of flying that they refuse to take off with the plane." That's the kind of thing Obama rightly refuses to enforce.

So mystics want to be hired for medical jobs, paid for doing only part of their work, and if their superstitions prohibit them from doing some other part of their work, firing them is "discrimination," "intimidation," and "bigotry." Let me tell what "discrimination," "intimidation," and "bigotry" really is. It's initiating the use of force against women and doctors who refuse to accept the assertion that globs of cells are human beings just because an evil spirit allegedly told you so.

In a completely capitalist and fully free country, mystics would of course be free to play witch doctor as long as they don't deceive their patients as to the brand of "medicine" they offer. And fundie patients like Christian "Scientists" would be free to seek no medical attention, but the attention of their imaginary friend, and consequently go meet him early.

In today's collectivist, politicized world, however, fundies elect shrubs and Palins to hijack political power to initiate the use of force against women and doctors who refuse to accept the assertion that globs of cells are human beings. Now, voters turned tables and the fundies are on the receiving end of political power: It's payback time.

And what a harmless payback it is. Unlike the fundies, who would incarcerate women and doctors for "murdering" insentient globs of cells, Obama merely refuses to hand out government monies to witch doctors that pose as scientists and then refuse to do their work.

The chilling effect of the Obama administration forcing doctors and nurses to choose between their losing their careers and being compelled to participate in abortions against their moral and religious belief is incalculable. Not only will pro-life doctors and nurses be driven from the professions,

I've got news for you: If you base your "work" not on science, but on faith, you're not a scientist, you're not a doctor, you're a mystic and a witch doctor. If you take tax money for doctoring, but only witch doctor, that's called fraud.

If you want tax money, doctor as the government tells you to. If your superstition prohibits you from doctoring right, find some private payers and donors with matching superstitions.

…but patients will lose the ability to choose doctors who reflect their own religious and moral convictions, doctors who now help them to make healthcare choices based upon them.

That's of course nothing like what you'd do, you little fundie rascal: Your and shrubby's laws made sure patients lose the ability to choose doctors who reflect their own reasonable and moral convictions. Only under your rule, the deck was stacked against those seeking freedom from globs. Now you complain it may get stacked against the glob worshippers.

Efforts to roll back freedom of conscience protections are only the latest in a series of aggressive actions that demonstrate intolerance for those whose conscience is convicted in support of a culture of life:

So using lethal force against living women and doctors on behalf of nonhuman, nonliving appendages to female bodies that might some day become human life is a "culture of life"? You could much rather call capital punishment for murderers a "culture of life": At least then the lethal force is used in retaliation for real murders. You could much rather call shooting yourself in the head a "culture of life," because it saves countless cows that won't go into the burgers you can't eat anymore as you're dead.

In the first month of his presidency, Obama reversed the established Mexico City policy that kept taxpayer money from being used by international organizations for abortions as a method of family planning protecting millions of American from paying for a procedure that they find morally objectionable.

How about finding a way to protect pacifists from paying for defense spending? How about finding a way to protect the childless from paying for schools? How about abolishing taxes altogether?

Last week, the President unilaterally lifted embryonic-stem-cell research restrictions.

In the President's recent healthcare summit, groups that support abortion were invited but pro-life groups with a stake in healthcare were excluded.

Obama's making all the right moves now to get into my heart.

The fact is, there are doctors and nurses who have no moral objection to abortion. Why then, should some medical professionals be compelled to do something that compromises their conscience? It is one thing to hold fast to the pro-abortion position as a matter of a personal opinion, it is quite another to force someone else to compromise their moral integrity.

They should be compelled to do so because they're being paid for it, you lying fundie moron. If those witch doctors base their integrity on their superstitions, they ought to quit government-funded hospitals and go play doctor at church-funded hospitals that should not be able to and under Obama will not be able to get tax dollars.

Having no reason to believe that President Obama will not fulfill this radical campaign pledge, some Catholic bishops are talking openly about engaging in civil disobedience to protect Catholic hospitals and their doctors from being forced to perform abortions.

Jail them just as the fundies would jail women and doctors! Jail them all! Payback time!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Obama Saves the Children!

Yes we did! Levi is free — and hopefully will remain so and not be shot (gun wedded) and field dressed by some other prospective backwoods mother-in-law.

Surely, nobody will object if I say "we" in this collectivist age, where everything one person did was allegedly done by some nonexistent "we" that claims some unearned credit? And surely, nobody will object if I call an eighteen-year-old and a nineteen-year-old "children"? After all, wing nuts routinely refer to seventeen-year-olds as "children" talking about "statutory rape," and moon bats routinely refer to twenty-one-year-old criminals as "children" when they're about to be executed.

In any event, this should silence wing nuts. They sarcastically call Obama "The Messiah," but now he has worked his first miracle!

Obviously, that whole engagement shebang was engineered by the spin doctors of the McCain-Palin campaign. If you made the mistake of voting for those two scoundrels, wake up and see how you've been manipulated.

Levi got a job on an oil field, and now he's been fired as it turned out he'd have needed a high-school diploma. Wanna bet some spinmeister got him this job for the duration of the campaign, to make him appear appealing to the blue-collar crowd?

Levi and Bristol were about to get married, and now they're not. Wanna bet someone on the Palin campaign threatened to frame Levi's mom for selling little white pills and blackmailed him into playing along in that farce called engagement?

Now, where does our Messiah, Obama, come in? Well, if that corrupt, unethical, lying, manipulative bitch had been elected, she'd have forced those poor children to play out that charade for four up to a maximum of sixteen years (two terms as a vice idiot, and two as the idiot in chief).

So Levi Johnston would have been blackmailed to become a punch-clock worker trapped in a marriage with a woman he doesn't love, would have been sacrificed to playact impossible, nonexistent family "values" the fundie faithful believe in. All that saved him was the fact that Obama was elected instead.

Thus, The Messiah worked his first wonder and saved the children from a fate a thousand times worse than death. In the unlikely event that I ever get insane enough to pray, it'll be to our new Messiah. Obviously, his medicine is stronger than that of the fundies' invisible friend. How!

Monday, March 09, 2009

When the Cooling Comes

Dubya, Palin, and Gore are drifting through a blizzard on an ice floe, debating who of them is the greatest idiot.

Bush goes, "I is dumbest Inuit… idiot in whorl hold… whole world. I is such stupid, there was a whole industry devoted to my stupidity."

Palin goes, "That's nothing. On account of my stupidity, my Vietnam veteran running mate lost against a Marxist Arab sporting the name of a mass murderer."

Gore takes off his shirt. "Man, is it hot here."