November 22nd, 2010

Godzilla, default

Good to know they're our "allies":

Israeli soldiers walk free in Gaza human shield case

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Seriously, they used a child as a human shield? This goes to my point mentioned below that just because one group has a bunch who are bad people does not make their opponents good people. Israel using children as human shields and use of white phosphorous:

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And of course Israel shot a US citizen four times in the head and once in the chest. Unless we're willing to attribute to this man superhuman powers of strength and endurance, there is no excuse for this kind of barbarism:

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And one other thing, Israel like Iran now has morality police deeming immodest clothing as a crime worthy of acid in the face:


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With friends like this, why do we need enemies in the region? On the other hand every President since FDR has allied with the Saudi barbarians, so.....yeah.
  • mijopo

On Bullshit (the technical sense) OR "What Jon Stewart Really Meant or Should Have Meant"

Thomas Friedman, wait, don't hang up, wrote an interesting column recently about the myth that Obama was spending $200 million a day on a trip to India.  it was a claim that wouldn't stand up to the most rudimentary fact checking or common sense considerations and yet was widely repeated by a number of pundits respected on the right and even a US Congressman. 

Now, I don't bring this up as yet more evidence of what douches Beck et al are, i bring it up because it illustrates vividly the extent to which politics is permeated by bullshit; bullshit in the most technical sense of the term, i.e., Harry Frankfurt's definition in "On Bullshit".  Frankfurt says that bullshitters "aim primarily to impress and persuade their audiences, and in general are unconcerned with the truth or falsehood of their statements". 

Why is this a prime example of bullshit?  Because, I don't think any of these people were lying, i.e., they weren't deliberately saying something false with an intention to mislead, they were just completely uninterested in the truth.  The only point of their words was to make political hay, not to convey facts.  Of course, that's a very common MO in politics.  But I contend that we don't heap enough scorn on the perpetrators.  As Frankfurt argues, "bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are".    I think he's right and I think that it's this incessant bullshit, not a lack of civility or even lies or myths,  that is hurting America.  We should treat bullshitters with more contempt than we treat liars. I think I'm finally in a position to understand where Jon Stewart was going and what he got wrong, the part that bothered me.  We do need to tone down the rhetoric insofar as rhetoric is bullshit, but we don't and we shouldn't stop speaking the truth, contra what Stewart suggested.  So, if Maddow really believes that GWB is a war criminal and can assemble a cogent argument for it, then she should absolutely articulate that argument, not hush it up and act like a car trying to merge into trafficBut if she's using the expression "war criminal" rather than something less provocative simply because she wants people to hate Republicans, or even worse, get people to watch her show, then she's bullshitting.   So, I say let's worry a lot more about getting rid of bullshit, but having set aside bullshit, let's not worry about civil discourse.  Truth is far more important than civility and civility will mostly return when we throw away the bullshit.

(Question for the reader.  Consider, malasadas 's excellent recent post about public myths.  To what extent are the myths perpetuated by bullshit, i.e., disregard for the truth and to what extent are they motivated by sincere desires to pursue truth.  I'm torn on this as many commentators use bullshit to stir up fears of those truly concerned with truth.  OTOH, many conspirarcy theorists aren't bullshitters at all, just misguided/deluded (usually) souls who are very concerned about the truth.) 

November 22, 1963 - Dallas, Texas

"We, in this country, in this generation, are -- by destiny rather than by choice -- the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of "peace on earth, good will toward men." That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: "except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain."

- from John Kennedy's speech to be given during a luncheon at the Dallas Trade Mart on November 22, 1963

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We knew that the terrorists knew before we thought anyone else should know...

Pistole said he overruled a recommendation from his aides for a public relations effort to explain the enhanced screening.

"That was my decision," said Pistole, who said he did not want to give too much information to would-be attackers.

"We know that [ Al Qaeda members] have visited the TSA website," Pistole said.

Also, he said, members of Al Qaeda have visited the body scanner manufacturer's website to check the technical specifications.,0,3483810.story


uh, I need time to carefully - very carefully - dissect this line of thinking. Feel free to help me here, anyone.

Mr. Pistole is offering one stumbling explanation after another to quell the rebellion - which has the effect of increasing it. In the recent past, he has stated TSA's efforts reflect their mission to "stay ahead of the terrorists". I don't see any evidence of that; every security change they have made has been after the fact. He has claimed that statistics showed huge support for the 'enhanced' procedures. That was a bold lie, based on one quickly outdated CBS poll that had no validity. He has claimed the xray technology is safe - another bold lie. He said he would not back down. That wasn't a lie; just a bold assumption.

His overruling the advice of his aides illustrates his attitude of 'I know what's best for everyone'. He didn't really care if 80% or even 10% would applaud the 'enhanced' procedures; that was no concern whatsoever.

My initial request for help in understanding his thinking is no longer required. There was very little thinking involved.

TSA Porno Machine Gets Better

There is a rumor going around that you can reverse the images on the TSA Scans to get a clear naked picture... This is still a rumor (Hoax) but there are already people claiming this can be done (real or not, if the technology gets better, this could be our future).

With photo editing software on any computer (like Microsoft Paint), you can easily turn it into a very realistic, nude photograph.

When I first got an e-mail from some of my libertarian colleagues here in Nashville who discovered this, I was skeptical. I thought the “reversed image” made from the negative must have been photo-shopped. So I took the image from DrudgeReportArchives myself, pasted it into Microsoft Paint, clicked “Image” in the menu at the top, and clicked “Invert colors.”

How does that help us the war on terror? Not much since the scanners still fail to pick up other dangerous items (you know what works better than these porno machines? Trained dogs.) But hey, at least we get naked pictures for the low low price of our dignity (with the price tag of $39.7 million, minus the $4.3 million on lobbying spending)
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