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  • May 2nd, 2015 @ 7:44pm

    Looks like you're trying to cherry pick scripture again.

    Consider how few Christians regard their neighbors as they would themselves, and considering how little uproar there is for it, I'd submit that loving your neighbor as you would yourself is no longer even a Christian ethic.

    Considering that the GOP pushes the hardest for [Christian] values voters, and then looks to cut welfare programs, assistance to the impoverished, or efforts towards equal treatment of marginalized minorities (case in point the recent Indiana Freedom of Religious Expression bill), I'd say that no, in the US Christianity is about total disregard of one's neighbor.

  • May 2nd, 2015 @ 7:35pm

    Definitely a corellation-but-not-necessarily-causation situation.

    To me it looks like both segments are reflections on the folly of youth. In the case of slavery, desperation for a reasonable livelihood that shrouded the issues of morality. It's a lot easier for one to see in retrospect the immorality of his work with the after knowledge that he survived that period, or failed to see other options available at the time.

    And his deficiency of faith does not correlate chronologically with his giving up the slave trade. The implication here is that he was a Christian in the full sense while he was still trading slaves and later while he was investing his own capital into slavers.

    I would expect, if there was a clear tie between the two he'd state it outright, that he could not be fully Christian while he advocated for and profited from the African slave trade.

    He doesn't say that as far as I know. He never states implicitly that slavery, whether generally or as it's practiced in the US was un-Christian.

    So no. I'd have to say they were in Newton's head separate matters.

  • May 2nd, 2015 @ 11:16am

    Once again the two-teired caste system reveals itself.

    I can't imagine a civilian who hired Chapa to borrow the truck to make a delivery (that ultimately turned out badly) would be let off so scott free.

    Anyone in the DoJ who breaks the law simply walks and is untouchable.

    (I'd qualify that by saying officers have to be acting in pursuit of enforcing the law, but I bet they mix their drinks in pursuit of enforcing the law)

  • May 2nd, 2015 @ 10:55am

    I think a naughty/nice officials list would be good

    Just one that specifies the highlights / lowlights of the kind of crap they did.

    I'd be more interested in the bullshitting-on-the-floor, creative-accounting-for-personal-gain, blatant-hypocrisy, screw-the-public-for-corporate-money stuff than the sleeping-with-my-mistress stuff (unless the mistress is his biographer and is illicitly privy to classified information) but still all categories for everyone.

  • May 2nd, 2015 @ 10:30am

    Dear Muckrock: GFY. Thanks, FBI.

    That seems to be the whole point of this exercise.

    I'd love it to be used as a case example to argue against FOIA redactions, not that our DoJ GaFF.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 5:55pm


    A terror attack was an attack that struck at civilians in order to stir the feelings of terror. Some definitions required political or ideological intent.

    Now, terror is any attack by the bad guys. It's convenient for US press that they use more traditional terrorist delivery systems (suicide bombers, bomb trucks, etc.) though if the bombs were delivered by air or mortar or planted limpets, they'd still be called acts of terror

    Where our drone strikes, which also bag a high civilian count and dubious persons-of-interest are justified in our eyes as less terrible somehow.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 2:50pm

    Not seeing it.

    I can't find any clear association of John Newton's religious epiphany with his abolitionism anywhere in his Wikipedia article. He seems to be apologetic in retrospect, but there's no indication at all that his conversion was what drove him from the trade and towards abolitionism.

    In fact, it points out he stayed in the slave trade until a stroke forced him out, at which point he continued to invest in slave trading.

    Doesn't sound like someone who found God and recanted the sin of slavery, especially since he did recant gambling, drinking and profanity fairly quickly.

    So maybe he didn't regard the slave trade as wrong or sinful until he reflected upon it in his later years.

    Feel free to cite sources that suggest otherwise, of course.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 2:08pm

    Regarding the Holocaust, some pedatic points

    ~=~ The holocaust was never religiously motivated. Die Endlösung der Judenfrage was the end result of a National Socialist ideology pushing Scientific Racism (a pseudoscience) in order to support the plebianization of untermenchen and the exile or ultimately, the eradication of Lebensunwertes Lebe including Jews, Romani, Slaves, gays, disabled and crazies. The closest its justification gets to religious backing is it's support in Thulean notions of Aesiran lineage within the Aryan ancestry.

    ~=~ As an aside, Hitler was raised Catholic but was politically a secularist, even going as far as wanting to replace common religious holidays and icons with nationalist ones. Included in his ambition was the replacement of Santa Claus with himself. No, this isn't to say that secularism is evil, only that secularist government isn't necessarily a defense against all kinds of tyranny.

    ~=~ Antisemitism was pandemic, world wide. Everybody hated the Jews. The religious justification (that Jews killed Jesus) was only a religious excuse for the fervor. Other than being a perpetually marginalized outsider (much like the wandering Romanis), Jews were resented as moneylenders which they became when medieval Christian values precluded lending to each other (a good Christian is supposed to freely give what is needed without concern for his own wellbeing. The recipient is then supposed to pay it forward. This plan didn't work out so well.) The animosity of the Jews in the early 20th century doesn't seem adequately accounted for due to mere usury. I've personally never found an adequate answer why the Jews were so hated, but that they were utterly despised is unquestioned.

    ~=~ Racism, and false sciences that backed the notions of racism -- phrenology, scientific racism and social Darwinism -- were rampant and used as justification to segregate societies and treat each other like crap. But this wasn't specific to Germany or National Socialism. Eugenics programs (selective breeding, often used on livestock or horticulture, only now applied to human beings) were gaining popularity throughout the western world. Germany just got very proactive about it sooner than did anyone else.

    ~=~ The final solution is happening here in the US. We already already have a multi-tiered caste system. We've already delineated who are the untermenchen, and a system to justify putting them into arbeitslager. There's already expressions of designated Lebensunwertes Lebe. It is only a matter of time before we see expedited eradication program is revealed to the public by a whistleblower.

    ...by which it will have been in service for some time already.

    Given our lack of government transparency, the US could be systematically murdering its own people right now.

    inB4 paranoid hippy

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 1:57pm


    I stand embarrassed.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 1:06pm

    We've had this conversation before.

    And you were still an Anonymous Coward then but I recognize your train of thought.

    I believe that what Jesus said and what is written in the New Testament is not as important as how Christians behave today. You believe otherwise.

    Okay. I certainly don't think the NT is as pure as you do. I think people are eager to interpret passages they don't like or in your case regarding the Old Testament, discredit them it old news. That doesn't stop other Christian talking heads from yanking out OT scripture when they want. I see a lot more efforts to get the ten commandments into public halls of justice than the beatifications.

    In the meantime Christianity has failed continuously as a faith of tolerance, charity and peace for centuries. And the silence from people discontent with their brethren doing terrible things in Jesus name or as good Christians is conspicuous. And you don't care.

    And yes, while a Tu quoque argument does not vindicate the behavior of those Muslims that behave poorly, it raises to question the validity of someone who would hold Muslims to a different standard than they would hold their preferred people, as you have done.

    My own opinion centers around that this: It's really popular for humans to decide that their own circle of friends is the preferred, elite group and that everyone else (starting with that despicable group over there) should be shunned or exiled or eradicated. It's also really popular for people to hold themselves to a gentler standard than they hold everyone else, even in a society in which justice is supposed to be equal for all. We see it in the US with law enforcement. We see it in every religious group regarding every other religious group, or with any non-religious group.

    In short, I'm not anti-religion. I'm anti-superiority-complex. I'm anti-double-standard.

    And you seem to really like hating the Muslims. So whatever, dude.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 10:32am

    The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.

    Tu Quoque applies to ad hominem attacks. I'm saying that the behavior of radical Christians has similarities to the behavior of radical Muslims, and those that speak to scripture are happy to cherry pick those that serve their purpose, whether it is to enshroud women in burqad or slut shame them for having a libido. In Bush's cases it was to launch a major military campaign in Iraq on false pretenses.

    Ideology is a flexible thing. Ambiguous scripture doubly so, and Christianity is full of it as well as Islam. So maybe it's not about Islam per se.

    It doesn't matter what Jesus did or said. I don't hear the beatifications much these days, nor Jesus proscriptions towards charity and tolerance. No, it's about marginalizing (and when possible, killing) women and the gays.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 10:06am

    The same thing can be said of Catholicisim and Southern Baptism

    ...both who seem to be focused more on licensing who gets to have sex (e.g. not gays, only married couples for reproductive purposes) than they are on combating poverty and hunger.

    Considering that Iraqi Freedom was a holy war in which Evangelist Methodist Bush sought religious justification (and only from his own church while the others called US Interventionism in Iraq unjust.), I'm pretty sure the hardliner Christians are stacking a bigger body count than the Muslims, but because we have nice uniforms and prefer to blow shit up with air strikes rather than suicide bombers, we don't call it terrorism.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Nuking the enemy.

    At the point that you decide that Islam is dangerous and infectious, you have to accept that all other religions are as well. To be fair, you have to accept the case for any ideology, from Randian Objectivism to American Exceptionalism to Capitalism.

    Up to that point, I agree with you.

    But at the point that you decide that all people who follow a given faith are bad for accepting the faith, this logic fails.

    There are dangerous radicals for every belief system. People willing to sacrifice themselves and to kill innocents in the name of their ideology. Islam is not unusual in that regard. Nor is Islam unusual for having extremist passages in its scripture, a factor that is certainly shared with the whole Judeo-Christian narrative.

    And granted, we hear a lot about Islamic terrorism, but the circumstances from which such attacks spawn have far more factors than Islam itself, so suggesting that Islam itself is the problem (or that by ridding the world of Islam would solve it) is going to be a tough sell.

    And incidentally, no. Considering how we treated people with AIDS in the 70s and 80s. Considering we can't treat STIs without slut shaming those who are infected and considering how we are freaked out about Ebola and happy to deprive people we remotely suspect might have it, we here in the US suck at treating our infection patients with compassion.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 1:14am

    Nuking the enemy.

    Let me get this straight: you want to target the cities in which we suspect there to be ISIL cells -- cities that have populations that number in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, in which less than 1% of them are militants and...

    Kill them all with a thermonuclear blast? Because Fuck them all?

    What is scary is that our current policies are about as bad (the stat I heard was fifty civilians for every one person-of-interest -- that is suspected terrorist, not convicted -- is the average for our CIA drone strike program. Our policy is already to not give two shits for civilians caught in the wake.

    Also, that major attacks -- probably not nukes because those are ridiculous overkill, but fuel-air bombs used to siege their cities -- are probably still on the table in case ISIL strikes too close to home, or embarrasses Dick Cheney.

    Secondly, you've just retroactively justified the 9/11 attacks and any other no-rules strikes they might choose to implement in the future. To be fair, you're not the first. But it's been demonstrated time and again that despite our best efforts to be the good guy, the US has proven to be just as wicked, just as ruthless, just as unscrupulous as the worst brigands in Africa, let alone Bin Laden's Mujahedin, who actually had a code.

    But we've already given up our notions of a free country or a state in which everyone is treated as equals. We've even given up the notion that no-one is above the law.

    And now you've demonstrated you're willing to nuke the other guy as if they're vermin or some infectious germ, and not human beings in their own right.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 12:49am

    The preference for a tiny population is not particular to radicals.

    Human beings want to be part of a tiny society. A tribe or band where they know everyone personally, and well enough to know what to expect from that person. It's a defense mechanism against germs and infectious diseases. It was our only defense prior to germ theory and centralized disease control.

    Radicals more vocal than the rest of us, and may believe in radical notions, such as a large homogenous non-pluralistic society, or a small society in which they still sustain the infrastructure that has been gained from big ones. They're fantasies that stem from a simplistic interpretation of the real world.

    But as we see in incidents like Ferguson and Baltimore, or in places like /b/, people don't make that connection between internet, clean water and electricity and large pluralist societies. They cannot rationalize long enough to recognize that their us vs. everyone-else paradigm is delusional. The belief that they can single out the bad (lazy, non-mainstream, criminal, whatever) people and annihilate them and then their society will be perfect.

    They'll always find fault in those people who are outside their top 100 Facebook friends. They'll always ultimately decide that those guys, too, need to be culled from the herd.

    It's not a matter of religion or ideology. These just give the notion some sense of authority. Everyone is looking identify and purge the other people.

    The trick is to figure out how to govern these people in a large civilization despite their desperate instinct to separate out. We've hacked it so far. I expect the society that can unite the most will ultimately win out over the others, whether by economic development, culture or sheer conquest.

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 12:20am

    The Merry Minuet (from memory)

    They're rioting in Africa
    They're starving in Spain
    There's a hurricane in Florida
    And Texas needs rain.

    The whole world is festering
    With unhappy souls.
    The French hate the Germans
    The Germans hate the Poles.
    Italians hate Yugoslavs
    South Africans hate the Dutch
    And I don't like anybody very much.

    But we can be thankful
    And tranquil and proud
    For man's been endowed
    With the mushroom-shaped cloud.

    And we can be certain
    That one happy day,
    Someone will set the spark off
    And we will all be blown away.

    They're rioting in Africa.
    There's strife in Iran
    What nature doesn't do to us
    Will be done by our fellow man.

    -- The Kington Trio

  • Apr 30th, 2015 @ 4:32pm

    Moral Panics are a fact of society

    And they're consistently wrong, whether we're talking about the recovered-memory Satanic-ritual scare, the alleged backmasking in Stairway to Heaven, the gateway to the occult that was supposedly in AD&D (Disappointed, TSR. Disappointed.) or even the sexy elf cards in Magic, The Gathering.

    I'd think that in this, an age in which our young people are cynical, we'd see this, yet another moral panic -- and not a very original one -- that this wouldn't make news outside Fox. I mean yet another addictive, dangerous video game? So what?

  • Apr 30th, 2015 @ 2:26pm

    I'm no nerd.

    I'm no expert harkens directly back to the I'm no nerd disclaimers during the SOPA committee meetings. So those of us who aren't experts but can logic enough to understand why backdoors are bad hear it as I'm not competent enough to actually discuss this issue.

    To the 100 IQ crowd, it means As a folksy common-sense sort of fellow, I'm not someone who has the pride to believe I know anything about anything because I read a book once, as is the case with all of those technical and academic types.

    Seriously, they don't understand the power of expertise, so they don't understand how people can be certain beyond doubt of mathematical truths.

  • Apr 30th, 2015 @ 2:12pm

    Haven't played minecraft

    Though I've devoted plenty of time to Terraria which is a 2D vertical version of the same type of crafting / resource-harvesting / survival / exploration game.

    It's not the same kind of fast paced experience as racers, jumpers and shooters, but it has its charm and leads to some interesting discoveries about how civic technologies and protocols develop.

    In the meantime, Borderlands 2 has shiny guns and plenty of things to shoot at to get more shiny guns, and that seems to be enough to distract me from my more cerebral pursuits.

  • Apr 30th, 2015 @ 1:58pm

    Re: How about portraying

    Title should be How about portraying many of the target demographic as different?

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