Category : fud

As you may be aware, Japan recently elected a new party into power after decades of dominance by the Liberal Democratic Party. The new party (Democratic Party of Japan) promised to be less “passive” in regards to the US. This has not gone over well within the bowels of the Pentagon:

In November last year, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned Japan that it would face “serious consequences” if the new government did not honour the commitments on the bases given by the former government. During his visit, Gates loudly lobbied for an extension of the military bases agreement.

Imagine if a foreign emissary came here warning us to do as he says or there will be “serious consequences”. Such arrogance is why the Japanese are unwilling to continue being our thankless sidekick.

China is also a factor. Japan seems to be throwing its lot in with China and other eastern countries, probably because our bullying behavior and rapidly-declining-in-value currency are getting really annoying.

Is this The Powers That Be’s way of getting back at Japan? It’s more of a warning than a crippling blow, but things could escalate quickly if the wall of secrecy continues to crumble:

The recent revelations of secret security pacts with the U.S. have inflamed public opinion. The Japanese Foreign Minister has appointed a team of scholars to delve into the Foreign Ministry’s archives to track down secret documents relating to security ties with the U.S.

“Secret agreements”? Yeah, this is when the conspiracy theorist in me starts paying attention. There is a lot more underneath the surface if you start to dig. If you find anything juicy, let me know in the comments.

I should also note that the US Government is currently the majority stakeholder in a direct Toyota competitor: General Motors. If “investigating” a foreign competitor to a state-owned business isn’t a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. Congress has jumped the shark; we’d be better off with a bunch of muppets in charge.

Meanwhile, he Japanese people and their media are watching events in Congress closely, and they are familiar with Kabuki drama.

Still, the Japanese media have carried a number of articles and broadcast segments analyzing the meaning of the upcoming hearing, many pointing to what they saw as political motives behind the actions by lawmakers and regulators.

Mark my words, this bit of political theater is not a coincidence.

Perhaps it’s obvious to say that there are political undercurrents at work in the Iranian Revolution 2009 we’re witnessing, but it goes well beyond the streets of Tehran. This is a global phenomenon and it bodes ill for the Old Ways.

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably a little more savvy than most, but for those who are new to social media this coup attempt is shining a light on something certain elements within our political structure have tried to keep hidden: Iranians are just like us.

That might not seem like such a radical statement, but when you’re in the business of demonizing people it’s an earth-shattering revelation. Here in America, our government and our media have been in the business of demonizing Iran for the last 30 years. If the revolution succeeds and Ahmadinejad is thrown into the dustbin of history then our government will not have a despotic Iran to kick around any more. Early indications are that the people of Iran and Mousavi’s hypothetical government will favor normalizing relations with America, or at least responding favorably to Obama’s overtures.

You might think this would make the neocons very happy, but that is not the case. Blogger Andrew Sullivan has been on top of the revolution from the get-go and he says: “Even I am a little taken aback by the neocons’ desire for an Ahmadinejad victory.”

The sad truth is that a lot of people are scared of change and they don’t like it when their favorite whipping-horse suddenly grabs the reins with his teeth.

Given the incredible impact that social media has had in this election/coup it should not be surprising if hardline forces –not just in Iran — take a dim view of social media in the future.

The first thing the illegitimate Iranian government did when it saw trouble brewing was to block Facebook and Twitter. Cell phone service was taken down in many areas. Mousavi’s website was taken out by government forces.

It’s obvious why: Social media is an inherently democratizing force.

Allowing people to connect outside of traditional, controlled channels is dangerous for any repressive regime. People can share news instantly, they can plan, they can support each other and they can warn each other of danger. This used to be the province of the authorities with their rigid hierarchies, their walkie-talkies and their chains of command.

Now anybody with a cellphone can change the world with a hashtag.

I say again: Iranians are just like us. They love Facebook and have a Mousavi fan page with 50,000 supporters. They have been using Twitter (and Twitpic) extensively. (Check out this page for a list of English language Iranian twitterers). And videos depicting the mostly-peaceful marches today are already showing up on YouTube:

As night falls things are getting more violent. It’s too early to declare victory, but I think the world is starting to see that the divisions our mainstream media has helped our government create are largely an artifice of ignorance and omission. We are all the same on Facebook. We are one on Twitter.

Social media is the bane of dictators everywhere, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But we have to be ready for the backlash against social media by those hardline forces stuck in the past. They may start to attack social media out of fear. We can’t let those repressive forces have their say anymore. If Iran can stand up for democracy, we can too.

Every now and then I come across a bad science article. And I come across badly done science with disturbing regularity — but today I found both in an article at NewScience.com.

It’s a “study” about why people believe “crazy” things like creationism and intelligent design. The authors of both the article and the study have barely bothered to mask their contempt and disdain for those who believe in anything other than cold, hard science.

But the science and written logic they bring to the table can be described as mushy branflakes at best. Check out the article and see if you can taste the bias. Here’s a sampler:

People continued to agree with false teleological statements, particularly those that endorsed an Earth intended for life.

I was not aware the debate over the beginning of our world was settled. Good to know you can administer a simple true/false test and call people who believe the earth was made for life “wrong”.

This is supposed to be science? It seems to be based on more assumptions than religion! [new readers: I don't believe in religion, but I don't believe evolution's reality settles the debate over our origins -v]

Either they’re trying to use trick questions or they don’t understand the nuance of language. This, for instance, is one of their “false” statements:

Mites live on skin to consume dead skin cells

Well… don’t they? The mites are better off living there than anywhere else. Where else would mites rather be?

The supposed scientists may have been grasping for “Mites exist only to remove our dead skin cells” but they utterly failed. And these people are claiming to be able to accurately and fairly judge me, my logical abilities and the validity of my beliefs??!!

Reminds me of this, more accurate, study.

This is also shoddy, biased journalism. I expect more from a mainstream publication like NewScience. Pro-atheism cheerleading is fine and good, but there’s a time and a place, just like we expect reporters to keep their Christian, Hindu or whatever views out of newscasts, we should expect the journalists over at NewScience and other consumer science outlets to do the same.

This is not an article so much as an attack on teleological thought, a legitimate philosophy of thought. Here’s what Wikipedia currently says about teleology:

A teleological school of thought is one that holds all things to be designed for or directed toward a final result, that there is an inherent purpose or final cause for all that exists.

As a school of thought it can be contrasted with metaphysical naturalism, which views nature as having no design or purpose. Teleology would say that a person has eyes because he has the need of eyesight (form following function), while naturalism would say that a person has sight because he has eyes (function following form).

A classic debate. Y vs. X and yet these supposed scientists are ready to throw telelogical thought under the bus without even investigating whether it might be right. Instead they’ve decided to do a sort of test to see if you think like a commie–..uh, er… “teleologist” in the hopes of one day “curing” it.

A first round of experiments suggested that adults make more teleological mistakes when pressed for time than when not. Yet Kelemen and Rosset also noticed that no matter how much time they had, test subjects tended to endorse false statements implying that the Earth is designed and maintained for life. [emphasis mine]

This is some of the most biased reporting I’ve ever seen, but it could be Ewen Callaway is just regurgitating what he was told. Then it would piss-poor reporting. But even more offensive to me as a rational person is the implicit goal laid bare in this study, which is clearly to find a way to eradicate teleological thought.

That’s the same kind of thinking that led to the Spanish Inquisition. We don’t need any more of that crap. These “scientists” need to learn how to take on their ideological opponents in an intellectual field of battle and quit trying to find ways to cow the populace into submission. If they have proof that the teleological school of thought is wrong, then they should firstly present it, then defend it.

Instead they use mouthpieces like NewScience, which I thought was a reputable publication, but now seems to be nothing more than a bloodbath battlefield between believers and nonbelievers. Here are some recent articles (among the most popular):

I guess it’s all about the page-views and contentious article bring in visitors galore. But then why not try and keep an editorially even hand and write balanced articles? There’s a good reason spiritually-minded folks often sound defensive in those forums. They know they’re being taunted — or else they wouldn’t be there, trying to explain deeply held beliefs to this generation’s most vicious nihilists.

What’s even more disturbing is that the atheists rarely stand up and say, “Hey, I agree, but let’s keep things respectful and balanced here.” Opinion Editor Amanda Gefter is particularly over-the-top. Here’s a typical passage:

Misguided interpretations of quantum physics are a classic hallmark of pseudoscience, usually of the New Age variety, but some religious groups are now appealing to aspects of quantum weirdness to account for free will. Beware: this is nonsense.

Free will has been debated for many millennia, but dear old Amanda won’t let us even consider the possibility that… what, quantum physics might be involved somehow? How the hell does she know? She clearly doesn’t because she chose ridicule over reason and neglected to back up her claims. If I print out the Wikipedia article on Free Will, it’s over 20 pages, but Ms. Gefter dismisses it with a warning: Beware!! Don’t read any further or you might turn into a commi- er, I mean “creationist!”

This is all about attacking the philosophical underpinnings of the opponents of strong-atheism, whom include religious folks, anti-religion/pro-metaphysics people like me, and many agnostics and weak-atheists.

It’s sad that people can’t find any common ground on this issue. It’s one of the most pressing of our times, especially with the growt
h of atheism in the young and urban. But it’s still a religious discussion and I remain somewhat aghast that a publication like NewScience would stoop to taking sides in the culture wars. Are they about to fold and need every page-view they can get?

I’d be more likely to read them in the future if they displayed a little more objectivity.

As for the “scientists” who are out to “cure” creationists or anybody who entertains metaphysical thoughts, well, I guess we’d better keep our eyes on them before they try to beat Religion’s high score in the killing game. Studying ways to eradicate thought that doesn’t conform with the scientific establishment’s is really beyond the pale.

I don’t think most atheists think this way. Certainly there is some bitterness about Christianity, the dominant religion in my culture, but few would actually seek to destroy it. They just don’t want fundamentalist Christians (like those that infested the Bush administration) enforcing prayer in schools, Intelligent Design in schools (ID should be in schools — the Philosophy Department) and various faith-based activities.

Totally understandable. But let’s make sure that we don’t end up with the mirror image as humanity gives up its superstitious beliefs. We don’t need fundamentalist atheists running amok any more than we need fundamentalist Muslims or Christians in charge. The extremists are the problem, and they hurt whichever side they are arguing for. Please, people, look for common ground in the culture wars!

Go in peace / Science be praised

You might’ve heard that a huge, mile-long UFO was spotted in Texas last week.

Several dozen people — including a pilot, county constable and business owners — insist they have seen a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast. Some reported seeing fighter jets chasing it.

Well, that sounds like a weather balloon. Federal officials are sure it was in fact a weather balloon.

While federal officials insist there’s a logical explanation, locals swear that it was larger, quieter, faster and lower to the ground than an airplane.

I’m sure there’s a logical explanation too. Clearly weather balloons have learned how to accelerate and maintain high speeds. It’s the only logical explanation.

Officials at the region’s two Air Force bases — Dyess in Abilene and Sheppard in Wichita Falls — also said none of their aircraft were in the area last week. The Air Force no longer investigates UFOs.

Uhh…. The Air Force hasn’t actually “investigated” anything, and yet they’re sure that it was an earth-based phenomenon. How can this be?

Well you see, the Air Force has a very detailed and complex methodology that they use to figure out what some yokel saw in the skies. I managed to sneak this out of an unnamed AFB undetected. This is very top secret. Click for a larger version.

Trust your government, folks. They would never lie to you.

UPDATE 1.24.08: The Air Force Reserve has completely changed their story.

I love giving free advice, so here’s some for their spokesman, Maj. Karl Lewis…

A hint: If you want people to believe you’re being straight with them, you can’t just change your story two weeks after the event. Dumbass.

Officials at the Joint Reserve Base Naval Air Station in Fort Worth initially said none of their planes had been in the area, but on Wednesday they said 10 F-16s were there that day. The officials said they were mistaken and wanted to set the record straight “in the interest of public awareness.”

They were fucking “mistaken”! Ha! They must’ve sent those ten F-16s up accidentally and not even noticed until they came back 2 weeks later. What a “brilliant” explanation!

I love to see the incompetence card played so poorly.

So now the Air Force looks completely retarded and deceitful. They first claimed that they didn’t have any planes in the area, but now they’re saying they did, but neglecting to mention what kind of plane could elicit this reaction from the natives:

Anne Frazor, who owns a fabric store in Stephenville, about 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth, said many in town have seen military aircraft zoom overhead from time to time as part of training operations. But she said that wasn’t what she saw Jan. 8.”I couldn’t begin to say what it was, but to me it wasn’t planes,” Frazor said.

–snip–

From well-respected business owners to a county constable, several dozen people say they saw a flying object that was larger, quieter, faster and lower to the ground than an airplane. They also said its lights changed configuration, unlike those of a plane.

“I guarantee that what we saw was not a civilian aircraft,” Steve Allen, a pilot and freight company owner, said Wednesday.

This guy would probably recognize an F-16 … or ten of them. And it’s not like the Air Force trains near where the sightings occurred.

The planes’ training area in the Brownwood Military Operating Area includes Stephenville‘s Erath County, but Allen said it does not include the airspace where he saw the object. Also, Jan. 8 was not the only day sightings were reported.

And I daresay the pilot could distinguish 10 F-16s from a half mile-wide object.

So now we can say that the AF is completely full of shit.

Great. Just great. I love being lied to… Oh wait! No I don’t; it fucking sucks, you dicks! Why you gotta be like that, Air Force Reserve?? huh?!! … .. [/frontin']

I suspect the answer is that they were leaned on by more powerful forces.

It’s pretty clear that there are those in power who don’t want this information to get out. I really don’t think people who call UFO coverup conspiracy theorists names like “kooks” are right, simply because it’s so obvious the government has been lying to us. There is plenty of reason to believe the worst if somebody lies to you. Boldly. Repeatedly.

“In the interest of public awareness,” the spokesman said. As if they’ve ever given two shits about “public awareness” before. Where’s the “public awareness” right here?

The U.S. Air Force says it has not investigated UFO sightings since 1969 when it ended Project Blue Book, which examined more than 12,600 reported UFO sightings — including 700 that were never explained.

The studious way they avoid investigating isn’t weird or anything. Riiiight. I totally believe you guys… [rolls eyes]

Don’t you think it’s odd that not investigating something is official government policy?

“It’s official government policy to ignore these weird, unexplained events. Carry about your business, consu- .. uh, .. er… I mean, ‘citizens.’”

Are we supposed to salute?

Fuck this. Give me the truth.

I was going to write a long, profane screed about this, but now I’m glad I didn’t because it turns out that Wil Wheaton of all people has already done it for me. Check it out.

The neocons push closer to war with Iran, as shown by the blunt comments made by El Presidente Cheney in Newsweek:

He repeated the Bush administration’s stance that the United States seeks to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program through diplomatic means, but that all options are on the table.

“I think most of the nations in that part of the world believe their security is supported, if you will, by the United States. They want us to have a major presence there,” Cheney said in an interview with Newsweek magazine, according to a transcript released by the White House on Sunday.

“When we — as the president did, for example, recently — deploy another aircraft carrier task force to the Gulf, that sends a very strong signal to everybody in the region that the United States is here to stay, that we clearly have significant capabilities, and that we are working with friends and allies as well as the international organizations to deal with the Iranian threat,” Cheney said.

Allow me to translate in case Captain Cheney’s comments were too subtle: “Iran, you best watch THE FUCK out, ya heard? We’re comin’ for your shit, so you might as well run now, bitches. Represent, sluts!!! We gonna fucks you up!”

The above is an official translation.

Cheney proceeded to whip out his dick and let the fucker smash on a table with a menacing thud:

Responding to other comments — including criticism from Brent Scowcroft, and others who have worked with Cheney in the past — he says, “Well, I’m vice president and they’re not.”

Yeah, you’re a big man, Dick. The whole article sounds like one big “fuck you” to everyone who’s ever criticized him… which means: just about everybody. I’m sooo glad he isn’t even bothering to hide his megalomaniacal tendencies or paranoid hatred of all who disagree with him. It’s refreshing.

Now, is anyone planning to remove Bush/Cheney from power soon? I dunno, like maybe the Democrats? They sure don’t seem to be moving very fast. They’d better hurry the hell up ’cause from the sound of things we’re gonna be having a blood kegger in Tehran by the end of the year. I’m sure Persian blood may not taste as sweet as Arab blood, but Cheney will still do a fucking kegstand on their country unless we get him the fuck out of office.

The neoconservatives like to point to “appeasement” by the UK during Hitler’s rise to power in order to justify their invasion of Iraq. I think we should use Chamberlain’s appeasement to justify removing Cheney from power before it’s too late. Appeasement of fascists is never a good idea. Cheney, as a fascist, should know.

I’ve never understood how the people who claim to be fighting the terrorists (Bush & co.) are the same ones who urge us to give up our civil liberties in order to do so.

I mean, I understand why Bush argues that: He’s evil, he hates freedom and wants to turn America into a dictatorship. What I don’t understand is why anybody actually falls for it. How stupid do you have to be?

I don’t give a FUCK how many people the terrorists kill. I’m not giving up even one of my rights. Not a single one. Or else the terrorists win. (And if you’ve been reading this blog you should know who the real terrorists are… the same people arguing we should give up our liberties).

There’s a new article in Wired that lays it down quite well:

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics.

The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want.

It’s very simple: The goal of terrorism is terror. If you feel afraid — terrified — after a terrorist attack, then the terrorists have done their job. Don’t let them win! Don’t give in to fear.

I know it’s hard to stare death, destruction and suffering in the face and laugh, but you must do it in order to stay free. And what scares me much more than death is the idea of living in slavery/tyranny.

We can’t allow the terrorists to dictate the rules of the game or they will win. We’ve got to be rational about this: You’re much more likely to die in a car crash than a terrorist attack. By a factor of 10+. Yet, do we hesitate to jump in a car and drive? You’ve mastered your fear when it comes to driving — master your fear when it comes to living! Don’t live in fear of death or terrorism. We can’t give in to fear or the terrorists win. It’s that simple.

The next time somebody tells you we should give up rights and liberties so that we can better defend against the terrorist threat, ask yourself: Whose side is he on? Isn’t he playing into the terrorists’ hands? Isn’t the terrorists’ goal to make us afraid and to trick us into acting on that fear?

Fear is the mind-killer. It won’t be easy, but we must overcome our fear if we want to survive as a society. We can’t let the terrorists push us around. It might seem sick, greeting a terrorist attack with a yawn, but that’s what we have to do.

You know what pisses off a terrorist more than anything? Being ignored.

Seriously. They’re already resigned to death. There’s not much you can do to hurt them… except ignore them. They really hate that. Then they died for nothing!

Terrorism: It only works if you let it work on you. You have the power to make terrorism useless. Don’t give in to fear!

And that’s about the best thing I can say about him.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the alleged plans to bring down 11 or 12 airplanes flying from Britain to the U.S., using liquid explosives. Well, I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it. I’m a cynical bastard, perhaps, but I think this whole story is full of shit. It stinks to high heaven.

Cheney, meanwhile, is standing up for his buddy, Joe “Loser” Lieberman. This is what he had to say, shortly after learning of the supposed terror attack plans:

Vice President Dick Cheney said on Wednesday that one thing he found disturbing about the defeat of Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary on Tuesday was that “our adversaries in this conflict, the al Qaeda types, clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people.” (Cheney made the comments after he was briefed on the suspected terror plot, according to a senior administration official.)

What the fuck is he talking about? Did he just basically call the voters who chose Ned Lamont “al Qaeda types”? Or is he saying that “Lamont is the al Qeada candidate“? Either way, that’s basically slander. Not to mention stupid.

I don’t know if Cheney is aware that 60% of Americans polled recently said that we should begin troop withdrawals by the end of the year, but that the type of thing he should be aware of. So are 60% of Americans traitors? According to Cheney, yes.

You know, the neocons are always very quick to accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being a traitor. But we have a saying where I come from that goes, “Whoever smelt it, dealt it.” Referring to farting, of course (this isn’t the fucking NY Times). And I think that, crude as it is, it’s often very correct. It is the neocons who are the traitors.

We are engaged in a war for the very soul of our great nation. These are dangerous times, and if we don’t choose our fate wisely we will end up being ruled by a small cadre of psychotic fascists who use terror to achieve their political and financial goals. The neocons are evil, and somehow they’ve taken over our country. We have to get it back.

This story is but one small example of the lengths that the neocons will go to in order to hold onto their ill-gotten power. They will slander over half the nation, imply that anyone who disagrees with them is a “far-left extremist traitor” and cynically exploit terror threats to usurp more federal power.

We would not be in this situation if the media was doing it’s job. This blog probably would not exist if the media was reliable and aggressive in its pursuit of truth. But it’s not. The mainstream media has failed us again and again. They are failing us again today by not questioning the government’s claims more aggressively.

Don’t believe everything the government says. The government is utterly controlled by the evil neocons. It’s time people wake up to that fact and vote accordingly.