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The Wrath

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Everything posted by The Wrath

  1. There is an American Nazi Party, and its existence is not a threat to the United States as long as it seeks to acheive its goals through elections. If the United States ever reaches a stage where a significant proportion of its people actually support the aims of the Nazi Party, what good do you suppose it would do that the party itself is banned? Tell me next time the Nazi Party (all 84 of its members) attempts to overthrow the US government, and we'll talk about whether it should be banned. They are neanderthals who can't organize a beer run, let alone a coup. And, yes, groups antithetical to Western ideals should be tolerated until they break the law. Soliciting coconspirators to rob a bank is a violation of the law. Soliciting like-minded people to form a political party--however distasteful its platform--is not. Not all Muslims wish for the violent overthrow of Western government. Spend some time in Sarajevo, if you need more proof. It is 80% Muslim and is by far the most pro-American city in Europe I have visited. If you seek to ban the speech or congregation of people you disagree with, you are setting a precedent for your own views/ideology to be on the chopping block in the future. If you seek to protect even your enemies from oppression, then you give yourself good ammunition next time politics swing against you, and your enemies are seeking to silence you.
  2. You just gave me practical reasons, not moral ones. Those are not reasons why it's okay to consider innocents in an enemy country to be collateral damage, while not holding the same logic to innocents living in a gang-run neighborhood. In any case, the practical distinction is disappearing, especially in asymmetric warfare where the enemy does not pose an existential threat. This is demonstrated every time an errant bomb kills civilians in Pakistan, and US officials issue profuse apologies. People in general are far less willing to tolerate civilian deaths than they used to be, and there is every reason to think they will continue to get less so. A couple of recent books discuss this trend: The Better Angels of our Nature and Winning the War on War.
  3. Once again, you are not thinking about other consequences and your view of modern warfare is extremely simplistic. You basically view this as "dead bad guys = good." Sure, that's great, as long as it's the only consequence. Can you not think of any other potential consequences of carpet bombing a country in the Middle East...maybe...in the oil market? Or maybe...creating a power vacuum that draws in multiple countries throughout the region? What do we do when that happens? Exterminate the human population of the Middle East? From a moral standpoint, after finally admitting that there are innocents in war zones, you place the blame for their deaths on the government. Why is that an acceptable stance in foreign policy, but not in domestic crime? Imagine a family living in an LA neighborhood that is essentially run by a gang. This gang is not just a problem in their particular neighborhood, but that neighborhood is just their base of operations from which they commit crime throughout the city. This family is innocent (though maybe not in your view, since they don't voluntarily risk their lives by trying to destroy the gang), and the police are certainly within their rights to combat the gang. Is it a reasonable tactic for the LA Police to lay waste to the whole neighborhood, innocent family included? If not, what is the salient moral difference?
  4. And where I say you're naive is your seeming refusal to consider that bombing a Middle Eastern country back to the stone age might have consequences other than removing whatever threat you perceive to emanate from said country. Never mind the moral argument against such an action, in the first place.
  5. I doubt anyone here thinks philosophers should sit around working out syllogisms, but the notion that they should just apply their philosophies to the world without looking at how the world actually works would be disastrous. Sure, Iran and countries that sponsor terrorism suck but, if the past decade has taught us anything, it's that the decision to go to war is a big fucking deal and not to be taken lightly. What the "declare war first, analyze the consequences later" crowd ignore is the fact that going to war--even with a country we could easily destroy--has major geopolitical and economic consequences. It is the height of irrationality to rationalistically apply your philosophy to the world and assume that sovereign nations (and I don't just mean the one actually being attacked), whose culture you don't understand, will act in a way we can predict and contain. This is why people who determine foreign policy--who, believe it or not, do in fact want to keep this country safe for foreign threats--don't just attack other countries because they don't like them. If you're going to admit that you don't know enough about military tactics to know the best way to destroy the Iranian regime, you should admit you don't know enough about geopolitics to be able to say that doing so at all is a wise move.
  6. I've had other exposure to Bane (that sounds kinda kinky), but it was a good 15 years ago. What I mostly remember about him is that he looked like he had lived his whole live on a strict diet of breast milk.
  7. I'm all for this being the end. Few movie series are good beyond the third movie, and some are not even good after the first. Having 2 very solid Batman movies was an accomplishment, and I have faith in Christopher Nolan to produce a third. Part of being a good artist is knowing when to stop. Besides, whatever happened to the semi-sacred concept of the trilogy? Nowadays, every half-baked comic book character gets 4 successive movies, then a backstory movie, then the cycle starts all over again with a peripheral character.
  8. A fair point. I haven't read any Batman comics since I was a kid, though I have recently made up my mind to start with Year One and work my way through the modern continuity of major Batman titles. I'm still on Shaman right now, so my mind might change when I become better acquainted with Bane. Maybe she is presented more realistically in the Frank Miller era. But the only depictions of her I have seen until now have been in the Michael Keaton continuity and the camp TV show from the 60's.
  9. Teasers aren't supposed to be satisfying. I'm just not so sure about this movie...the first two were good, in large part, because the villains were so cerebral. Bane is more of a blunt instrument. I also don't like the notion of Catwoman being in it, because that doesn't seem to jive with the more realistic mythos of the first two. However, based on his body of work up to this point, I'm willing to sit back and say: "In Christopher Nolan we trust."
  10. I agree with this wholeheartedly. My quarrel is not with people who think she killed her child. My quarrel is with people who think that "thinking someone is guilty" is enough to render a guilty verdict. It's irritating to hear people claim that the jury has committed some gross travesty of justice, without stopping to think that a jury has to abide by a different standard than does the average observer. Most people (including the overzealous, formerly misconduct-committing prosecutor Nancy Grace) seem unable to differentiate the two. Anyone who has ever watched a courtroom thriller (not to mention attained a college education) should be able to explain the difference.
  11. The "evil corporation" bit is just an example. A competent defense attorney can taken any criminal case and come up with something that introduces a sliver of doubt. That's why 100% certainty is not and should not be the standard for conviction.
  12. There are virtually no criminal cases that are completely beyond doubt. If all else fails, someone can always claim an elaborate conspiracy by an evil corporation to frame the defendant. If "beyond any possible doubt" is the standard, convictions would be few and far between. The risk of incarcerating the occasional innocent man, due to some freak circumstances that make him look extremely guilty, is the price of living in a society of law.
  13. No one is defending Leal, but the concept of international law. I, for one, don't think that "international law" can really be said to exist in the first place, because "law" implies that attempts are made at enforcing it--which is almost never the case when breaches of so-called international law take place. However...there are still niceties that sovereign nations agree to abide by, even though they understand that not much will happen if they break them. For instance, it might ruffle some feathers if a Botswanan policeman jumped the fence of the American embassy to arrest a thief, but such an action would ultimately be of little consequence to either the US or Botswana. Why, then, don't policemen do stuff like that? Because it is a generally understood (and almost always respected) rule that civilized nations don't fuck with each other's embassies. The same applies to consular access for detained foreign nationals. Texas could have allowed the Mexican consul to see Leal, listened to his pleas for clemency and extradition, then denied the pleas and carried out his sentence. That would have achieved the same end result, without violating the trust with which sovereign nations agree to relate to each other. Texas' decision to execute the man without granting consular access was, indeed, a violation of the generally agreed-upon rules of conduct between sovereign nations, and reflects poorly on the United States. Does it really matter? Not in the long-run. We're not gonna go to war with Mexico over it, and this will be forgotten in a month. But it was still the wrong thing to do, and I think the Supreme Court came down on the wrong side here.
  14. She may very well be guilty, but my point is that people seem to have thought she was throughout this whole ordeal...before a reasonable juror would have concluded so, and before the trial even began. This happens every time a court case draws national attention. Take the Duke rape case. Everyone, led by the media, was calling for their heads until it became undeniable that the girl was lying. If my fiancee were murdered tomorrow and I was charged on the basis of circumstantial evidence, is there any doubt as to who the majority of people watching Nancy Grace would think was guilty? Even before they became the slightest bit familiar with the evidence? One other thing people tend to forget: in a properly working justice system, the guilty often walk free. "Probably guilty" is thankfully not the standard for conviction. Even if Anthony was probably guilty, the jury apparently did not believe it had been established "beyond reasonable doubt."
  15. No, I didn't read it that way. I agreed with your post...I was just reiterating my distaste of Grace.
  16. Sylvia Browne didn't create her niche either, but that doesn't make her any less despicable. Nancy Grace ranks right up there with Olbermann and Beck for my personal most-despised media figures.
  17. But that's hardly unique to this particular case. I think any decent judge would make these things closed to the public, bar media from the courtroom, and sequester the jury, the moment it becomes apparent that the case is going to be tried by CNN. Maybe Anthony is as guilty as everyone seems to think, but the problem is the public's automatic assumption of guilt, with judge/jury/executioner Nancy Grace leading the charge. That woman is a disgrace to journalism.
  18. My attitude towards this case has always been one of "who cares?" I haven't paid the least bit of attention, for the same reason that I didn't care about Laci Peterson or Elizabeth Smart. Kidnappings, murders, etc. happen all the time. This is not national news, except to the extent that Nancy Grace and her ilk need an excuse to feign righteous indignation for the sake of ratings. Their opinions are, of course, echoed by the vast majority of Americans who assume, a priori, that anyone on trial is guilty.
  19. Yeah, not surprising that there are similar ideas. But the "contradict" one gives me a good R to use.
  20. Abandon and Discard are good ideas, but I think the B and D would be hard to do. I replaced the G (which had been an Islamic crescent) with a 90-degree rotated Hindu Om symbol. I am considering putting the following Bible verse on it: "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." -I Corinthians 13:11
  21. I've thought about just using a plain R. The Eye of Horus is a good fit, but I don't know that many people would recognize it.
  22. I've got an idea for a bumper sticker that I might try to trademark (and I trust no one in here to steal it from me). I'm sure you've all seen the "coexist" bumper stickers that are becoming more and more common, these days. See attachment, if you haven't. Well, I for one, think that religions don't need to "coexist." Rather, the whole human race needs to outgrow religion. I'm trying to work in at least one symbol from each major religion. For the first O, I have a yinyang. For the U, I have the symbol for the zodiac sign Leo (upside-down). For the T, I have the obvious Christian cross. For the G, I have the Islamic crescent moon, with the star inside serving as the other line of a G. The second O is a Star of David. The W is the Arabic script for Allah (الله). All I lack is an R. Any ideas?
  23. The Wrath

    Dystopians

    Planet of the Apes A Clockwork Orange While I enjoy the original POtA movie and (to a much lesser extent) respect Kubrick's adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, neither movie does justice to the themes in the respective novels. This is particularly true of A Clockwork Orange, which cuts out the entire last chapter--a chapter which has a diametrically opposite ending to the one in the movie.
  24. No, and that's exactly the point. Someone without such a knowledge is hardly fit to be making blanket statements like "Islam is an inherently totalitarian ideology." As it happens, I am not even making the opposite claim. I am pointing out that actual Islamic experts disagree widely, and that a cursory examination of the Quran shows it to be a contradictory document from which no consistent "true" version can be extracted.
  25. And you have a scholarly knowledge of Islam that allows you to make this judgement, I'm sure. Wait, no you don't. But there are plenty of Muslim clerics who are indeed experts on Islam, and even they can't agree. When experts can't agree on what the supposedly authoritative source of Islamic law recommends, it seems a reasonable conclusion that it recommends irreconcilable doctrines and that one interpretation is not necessarily better or "more true" than any other. Indeed, your friends are not following the "slay them wherever ye find them" passage* and are instead following the contradictory "there is no compulsion in religion" passage. *This passage in the Quran exists in the context of war, a fact oft ignored by people fond of quoting it. The notion that this means "go around the world and slaughter non-Muslims who aren't bothering you" is pretty much held only by Western conservatives with an "I don't know much about Islam but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night" approach to talking about Islam. Obviously, people like UBL consider themselves to be at war with the entire West, but the reasoning for that is of a different strain. Once it's been established that they are at war, only then does the "slay them wherever ye find them" passage take effect.
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