March 2007


That fact is that any certain claim by man (sic) to know the mind of god is not only blasphemous but also futile.  By definition god is a bit of mystery beyond the bounds of human knowledge; indeed this is what is meant by man is fallible.  Man is fallible not simply because he is a sinner but more importantly because there are inherent limitations to mans knowledge. Man will even sin when it is not his intention to do so. It follows from this that we have no possible way to know which way god would vote.   So the point is that any question of which way Jesus would vote is a dumb question.  Obviously the right, centre and left can find textual evidence in the bible supporting their respective projects but this is an entirely different proposition than stating what the mind of god is.  Politics is the providence of man; judgement is the providence of god and we should think the political party affiliations of Jesus unknowable.

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Please find posted below the youtube video the original French lyrics to Tina Arena’s Je m’appelle Bagdad.  The video has English sub-titles

<http://musique.ados.fr/Tina-Arena/Je-M-appelle-Bagdad-t17259.html>
J’ai vécu heureuse
Dans mes palais
D’or noir et de pierres précieuses
Le Tigre glissait
Sur les pavés de cristal
Mille califes se bousculaient
Sur mes carnets de bal

On m’appelait
La Cité pleine de grâce
Dieu
Comme le temps passe

On m’appelait
Capitale de lumière
Dieu
Que tout se perd

Je m’appelle Bagdad
Et je suis tombée
Sous le feu des blindés
Sous le feu des blindés
Je m’appelle Bagdad
Princesse défigurée
Et Shéhérazade
M’a oubliée

Je vis sur mes terres
Comme une pauvre mendiante
Sous les bulldozers
Les esprits me hantent
Je pleure ma beauté en ruine
Sous les pierres encore fumantes
C’est mon âme qu’on assassine

On m’appelait
Capitale de lumière
Dieu
Que tout se perd

Je m’appelle Bagdad
Et je suis tombée
Sous le feu des blindés
Sous le feu des blindés
Je m’appelle Bagdad
Princesse défigurée
Et Shéhérazade
M’a oubliée
Mes contes des mille et une nuits
N’intéressent plus personne
Ils ont tout détruit

Je m’appelle Bagdad
Et je suis tombée
Sous le feu des blindés
Je m’appelle Bagdad
Princesse défigurée
Et Shéhérazade
M’a oubliée

Apparently the pressure got to him. Cherniak forgot the one thing you must not do in politics: publicly and explicitly pass along unverified rumours which call into question the integrity of much bigger fish than yourself. You can spread all the shit you want on the weaker and less well known (Cheri DiNova), and never have to admit you were wrong, or deliberately disingenuous and full shit. But the door swings both ways and the beauty of it is that Cherniak got way too big for his little boots and we all saw it go down. You sir, have been unmasked as a Charlatan. Time to concentrate on your billable hours because you are now officially a political liability.
One down, one to go.

The eXile
#259
23 Mar 07

Triumph Of The Vile

Or: 300 Bottles Of Idiocy On The Screen
By Gary Brecher ( war_nerd@exile.ru )

FRESNO, CA — Well, I did it, took one for the team,
jumped on the grenade, offered my belly to the
bayonets – in other words, sat through 300, the
comic-book movie about Thermopylae. The only reason
this thing got made is that it makes good anti-Iran
propaganda, because as every war fan knows, at
Thermopylae “300 brave Spartans held off the entire
Persian army.”

Frank Miller’s movie is the “Hoo-ah!” version of this
story. Every time the Spartan king Leonidas makes a
“rousing speech,” his warriors yell “Hoo-ah!” like the
Rangers in Mogadishu in Black Hawk Down. Actually the
Spartans had a rep for silence, but we’re not dealing
with great historical minds here.

What had me really wanting to puke is that this movie
tries to make Sparta into some kind of Land of
Hallmark Card-givers. There’s about an hour’s worth of
perfume-ad scenes where Leonidas and his lovey-dovey
wife, a feisty lady in one of those bondage-lite Greek
dresses, cuddle and make eyes at each other and say
patriotic stuff by way of foreplay. Yeah, that’s why
you see those bumperstickers, “Sparta was for lovers.”

Fact: Sparta was about as romantic as North Korea.
Give or take a little egalitarianism, Sparta WAS North
Korea. Spartan laws did everything they could to break
down the family. Sparta was more anti-nuclear family
than any Hollywood liberal could ever be.

Wanna know what a Spartan wedding night was really
like? It’s pretty hilarious, in an insane way. As soon
as a Spartan girl got her first period, they grabbed
her, shaved her head, dressed her as a boy, threw her
down on her new husband’s bed, and then, well, he had
his way with her. What way was that? Since hubby had
been in an all-male dorm since age seven, I’m betting
that that night of lovin’ was more like a skinny white
boy’s introduction to San Quentin after lights-out
than it was like a chick flick. So when this movie
shows the Spartan hero saying to his wife, “Goodbye,
my love,” I just had to laugh.

No Spartan ever told his wife he loved her. That
would’ve been like treason, because the Spartan rulers
wanted family ties snapped, so the only bond left was
to the state. They left room for folks’ natural urges
by letting the women drink, which they did non-stop,
and the men form what you might call close comradely
bonds with their fellow soldiers.

In the ancient world, gay was a matter of who was on
top. If you were a topper, that was fine; if you were
the one getting in the ass, not so cool. In other
words, prison rules. Sparta’s leather-bar ways were a
running joke to the ancient Greeks. The Spartans were
stone killers – but they also preened like teenage
girls before a battle. They grew their hair long, and
before a fight they’d comb it, oil it, try out
fetching new styles, put little baubles in their ears,
anything to die young and leave a beautiful corpse.

None of that in this movie. Just the opposite. Miller
even has Leonidas taunt the Athenians calling them
“boy-lovers.” Athens, the true hero of the war against
Persia, gets dissed time and again in this movie. You
won’t hear a word in 300 about Salamis, the real
decisive battle of the war – because it was Athens,
not Sparta, that destroyed the Persian fleet at
Salamis. The Spartans wanted to run away from the
Persian fleet and wall themselves off in the
Peloponnese (you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve
messed up the spelling on that damn word). They didn’t
have a clue about combined-arms operations (which the
Athenians handled durn well). In fact, the Spartans,
who are called “the finest soldiers in history” over
and over in this movie, were a mediocre,
one-dimensional, inflexible military force.

Sparta understood only one kind of fighting: land
battle, the hoplite shield-wall – a Big Ten offense
from the old school, “three yards and a cloud of
dust.” In any shield-wall vs. shield wall battle, the
bigger offensive line will break the opposing team’s
wall, leaving them open to massed spear thrusts. Once
the opposition’s wall was broken, the citizen-soldiers
would scatter to fight another day – a totally
sensible reaction, since the alternative was
annihilation. In battles like that, psycho varsity
offensive-line types like the ones Sparta bred did
just fine. But vary the conditions of battle in any
way, and they were as helpless as Woody Hayes’ Ohio
State teams were against a team that could stop the
run.

So it was actually fairly easy to stymie the Spartans:
just put them in a situation where they had to think
for themselves. Imagine a Spartan army up against a
Mongol scouting force. Even if the Spartans
outnumbered the Mongols by, say, 4-1, I’d have no
hesitation betting on the Mongols. They were truly
tough, not artificially hardened by sick PE games but
by life in the saddle, on the steppes. And they were
smart enough to realize that smarts count on the
battlefield, that negotiation and alliance-building,
scouting and propaganda are all important aspects of
war. Only amateurs like Frank Miller are dumb enough
to think that being dumb, mean and inflexible like the
Spartans is the route to military success.

The Thebans under a really brilliant general,
Epaminondas, crushed the Spartans in the battle of
Leuctra (371 B.C.) because Epaminondas just plain
out-thought those lummoxes. He knew exactly how the
Spartans would stack their forces in battle order,
because they always did it the same way. So he
tinkered with the conventional phalanx-stacking set-up
and those Thebans, most of them ordinary Greek
citizen-soldiers, mere amateurs by Spartan standards,
kicked Spartan ass right down the line. The Helots,
the locals the Spartans had enslaved and terrorized
for generations, finally got a chance for payback and
Sparta withered away to nothing. Game over.

Only amateur fascists admire Sparta guys like Frank
Miller, who are still pissed off because people like
me dared to warn them the Iraq war was going to be a
disaster. Now Miller and his fellow neocons have gone
so over the deep end of delusional thinking that
they’ve resorted to fantasizing about Sparta, where
nobody ever argued, where everyone yelled and stabbed
and otherwise kept their mouths shut.

It’s downright hilarious the way this movie punishes
every smart character. Every time someone wants to
argue with the war party in this movie, he’s evil.
Everybody who talks in a normal tone of voice is evil.
Miller shows two scenes where the Spartans murder
Persian envoys arriving under a flag of truce. And
both times, you’re supposed to cheer.

Since when do Americans cheer when truce parties are
murdered? Well, that’s pretty easy to answer,
actually: since Iraq. These diehard neocons have gone
insane because there’s no way they can argue for an
invasion of Iran any more. But they still want it,
bad. So they’ve taken a crash course in fascism,
jumping all the way to cheering for Sparta and booing
for Athens – because Athens stands for brains and
flexibility and talking things out. They can’t win the
argument, so they want to kill anybody who tries to
argue. That’s why Leonidas kicks the Persian envoy
down a well.

Miller only approves of two things:

1. Yelling

2. Bashing.

I say “bashing” because you can’t call his view of
military operations “strategy” or even “tactics.” It’s
just close-ups of Leonidas’s teeth while he yells
about “freedom.” He talks about “freedom” non-stop.
I’m serious. A Spartan! Talking about freedom!
Leonidas actually says, and this is a quote, “Freedom
isn’t free”! I thought I was back watching Team
America: “Freedom isn’t free/It costs a dollar
ninety-three…”

And since the ham playing Leonidas has this thick
Scottish accent, and teeth like an old horse, it was
like some Clydesdale doing an impression of Mel Gibson
in Braveheart at the same time. Left me woozy, I tell
ya.

But here’s what’s really interesting about Leonidas’s
“freedom” speeches: every one happens just after he’s
thrown some envoy down a well or stabbed somebody who
advocates talking strategy. That’s the real fantasy
here: wouldn’t it be great if we could just yell
“Hoo-ah!” non-stop and just kill the naysayers? You
can almost see this pitiful dweeb Frank Miller jacking
off every time his musclebound Spartan hero kills
another envoy or politician. That’ll shut’em up!

Well, it might be fun but it’s not war, fellas. If
there’s one thing we shoulda learned from Iraq, it’s
that in asymmetrical war, the following items are
totally useless, in fact worse than useless, because
they get in the way:

1. muscles

2. “Hoo-ah!”

3. killing anybody who points out the flaws in your
plan.

Contrary to what amateur fascists think, the really
successful military elites encourage discussion, train
mid-rank officers to react independently, and
discourage yelling, steroid use and macho bullshit in
general. Hell, even the Wehrmacht was filled with
calm, polite and cultured men. We could use a few of
them now.

Petraeus seems kind of like that, but by this time the
situation’s so awful I’m not sure how much he can do.
At least maybe it’ll shut up all the “Hoo-ah!” jocks,
make them realize they’re not fit for theater command,
and get them back to their true calling: coaching
high-school football. In Miller’s case, Junior
Varsity.

An international incident has occurred in the disputed waters off the coast of Iran and Iraq.  Britain’s response “it is misunderstanding and we will resolve it through diplomatic channels.  Cherniak’s response “bomb Iran.”  Again we have to put the question to Cherniak; if you are so g-d impressed with gross bellicose militarism why don’t you enlist? Or are you like all those tough guy republicans that do the talking while others do the killing and the dying?

.
It is time the liberal party sent you to your natural home in the Conservative party of Canada.  You could sit on the board of the CIC with Ezra and synergize.

It looks as though Labour is set to take back the government in Australia. Eight months is a long time in politics but the trends are all moving in the right direction. And it looks like Howard’s attack adds actually moved opinion in the opposite direction. WK take note.

There is an interesting article which compares the total ecological footprint of a Prius to a Hummer. The conclusion that the article draws is that the Hummer is actually easier on the environment. How can this be? The article lists three reasons. First the actual fuel consumption is higher than claimed. Second, the manufacturing of the batteries that powers the motor invovles the toxic processing of nickel and takes a lot of energy to manufacture.

Second is the issue with the actual production of the batteries for the hybrid cars. It is only slowly being revealed that the nickel batteries that hybrids use are not environmentally friendly. The nickel for the Prius is produced in Sudbury, Ontario. According to Demorro, ” This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.” Toyota produces 1,000 tons annually. The production of the batteries does not end in Canada, the nickel is then sent off to a refinery in Europe and then off to China and finally it ends up in finished form in Japan. This in turn uses more energy to create the batteries since it involves many factories all over the world.

Third hybrids do not last as long as conventional vehicles. Interestingly, the article concludes that the most environmentally friendly cars are conventional sub compacts.

Basically if you want to save gas and pollute less you should buy a subcompact with a PZEV rated engine. It will save you more money in the long run and the earth will thank you.

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