9/29/2006

Thing to make you go hmmmm.....

ANTI-W. $OROS: I QUIT POLITICS By MAGGIE HABERMAN

(New York Post)

September 29, 2006 -- Billionaire liberal financier George Soros, who spent millions of his fortune trying to oust President Bush in 2004, yesterday said he hopes to stay out of politics from now on.

"In the future, I'd very much like to get disengaged from politics," Soros said at a Council on Foreign Relations meeting on the Upper East Side. "I'm interested in policy and not in politics."

That little tid bit sure as sugar doesn't sound like the same man who devalued the British pound, wreaked havoc with the economies of Asia and was instrumental in the looting of post-Soviet Eastern Europe.

It can only mean one thing.

He's up to something really big.

9/26/2006

Experts Are Idiots

A Vox Poplar Editorial.

Henri Brun a professor of Canadian Constitutional Law a L'Universite Laval in Quebec recently declared that Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean was wrong to express support for Canada's ongoing mission liberating Afghanistan from the brutal terrorism loving, women abusing, Buddha blasting Taliban.

Henri said that it defies "Canadian constitutional tradition" for a Governor General to express support for the Canadian military's mission.

This proves one thing.

Henri Brun's students should get their tuition refunded.

It's obvious that he knows nothing and couldn't possibly teach them how to find their own asses, let alone the Canadian Constitution.

Now I'm no fancy college professor, I've never owned a tweed jacket in my life, but I do know a little bit about Canadian history and the constitution.

*Michaelle Jean, our Governor General is the Commander In Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces. That's not just a title, she's the supreme civilian authority over the Canadian military. Not the Prime Minister, not the Parliament, and definitely not Jack "Numb-Nuts" Layton.

* The Canadian Armed Forces are currently fighting a war, yes, a real honest to Allah war, against an enemy that thinks killing civilian men, women, children, destroying schools, hospitals, religious shrines, and eliminating all basic human rights, are good things that make their god happy.

* Michaelle Jean's expression of support for the military, of which she is Commander in Chief, does not go against the Canadian Constitution. The only thing it goes against is the platform of Jack "Afghanis Don't Deserve Freedom" Layton and Canada's New Democratic Party, which hasn't met a whack-job dictatorship it didn't love.

It's the equivalent of the Earl of Athlone, Canada's Governor General during WW2 declaring that he couldn't publicly support the liberation of Europe, because it might offend Hitler.

That's nuttier and more divorced from reality than Mel Gibson on a Tequila bender.

Professor Henri Brun.

One more argument for the elimination of tenure.

9/22/2006

Read for Yourself...

I've had some fun with the controversy over Pope Benedict XVI's speech, but I've decided to take a more serious tack today. Here is the prepared text Benedict XVI was speaking from at the University. I suggest you read it, and decide for yourself.


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a moving experience for me to stand and give a lecture at this university podium once again. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. This was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves.

We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas: the reality that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason-- this reality became a lived experience.

The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the whole of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical skepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (M√ľnster) of part of the dialogue carried on-- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara-- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian.

The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the three Laws: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point-- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself-- which, in the context of the issue of faith and reason, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:

Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.

God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death....

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: "For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.

As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: In the beginning was the logos. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos.

Logos means both reason and word-- a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.

The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: Come over to Macedonia and help us! (cf. Acts 16:6-10)-- this vision can be interpreted as a distillation of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.

In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and declares simply that he is, is already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates's attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: I am.

This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature.

Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria-- the Septuagint-- is more than a simple (and in that sense perhaps less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God's nature.

In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which ultimately led to the claim that we can only know God's voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the realm of God's freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God's transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions.

As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran IV). God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love transcends knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1).

This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history-– it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.

The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian faith has been countered by the call for a dehellenization of Christianity-– a call which has more and more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the program of dehellenization: although interconnected, they are clearly distinct from one another in their motivations and objectives.

Dehellenization first emerges in connection with the fundamental postulates of the Reformation in the 16th century. Looking at the tradition of scholastic theology, the Reformers thought they were confronted with a faith system totally conditioned by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of the faith based on an alien system of thought. As a result, faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system. The principle of sola scriptura, on the other hand, sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word. Metaphysics appeared as a premise derived from another source, from which faith had to be liberated in order to become once more fully itself. When Kant stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he carried this program forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could never have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole.

The liberal theology of the 19th and 20th centuries ushered in a second stage in the process of dehellenization, with Adolf von Harnack as its outstanding representative. When I was a student, and in the early years of my teaching, this program was highly influential in Catholic theology too. It took as its point of departure Pascal’s distinction between the God of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In my inaugural lecture at Bonn in 1959, I tried to address the issue. I will not repeat here what I said on that occasion, but I would like to describe at least briefly what was new about this second stage of dehellenization. Harnack’s central idea was to return simply to the man Jesus and to his simple message, underneath the accretions of theology and indeed of hellenization: this simple message was seen as the culmination of the religious development of humanity. Jesus was said to have put an end to worship in favor of morality. In the end he was presented as the father of a humanitarian moral message. The fundamental goal was to bring Christianity back into harmony with modern reason, liberating it, that is to say, from seemingly philosophical and theological elements, such as faith in Christ’s divinity and the triune God.

In this sense, historical-critical exegesis of the New Testament restored to theology its place within the university: theology, for Harnack, is something essentially historical and therefore strictly scientific. What it is able to say critically about Jesus is, so to speak, an expression of practical reason and consequently it can take its rightful place within the university. Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically expressed in Kant’s “Critiques”, but in the meantime further radicalized by the impact of the natural sciences. This modern concept of reason is based, to put it briefly, on a synthesis between Platonism (Cartesianism) and empiricism, a synthesis confirmed by the success of technology. On the one hand it presupposes the mathematical structure of matter, its intrinsic rationality, which makes it possible to understand how matter works and use it efficiently: this basic premise is, so to speak, the Platonic element in the modern understanding of nature. On the other hand, there is nature’s capacity to be exploited for our purposes, and here only the possibility of verification or falsification through experimentation can yield ultimate certainty. The weight between the two poles can, depending on the circumstances, shift from one side to the other. As strongly positivistic a thinker as J. Monod has declared himself a convinced Platonist/Cartesian.

This gives rise to two principles which are crucial for the issue we have raised. First, only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific. Anything that would claim to be science must be measured against this criterion. Hence the human sciences, such as history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy, attempt to conform themselves to this canon of scientificity. A second point, which is important for our reflections, is that by its very nature this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned.

We shall return to this problem later. In the meantime, it must be observed that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain theology’s claim to be “scientific” would end up reducing Christianity to a mere fragment of its former self. But we must say more: it is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the purview of collective reason as defined by “science” and must thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective “conscience” becomes the sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal matter.

This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate.

Before I draw the conclusions to which all this has been leading, I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself.

And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application.

While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.

Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology.

Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought: to philosophy and theology.

For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: “It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being - but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss”.

The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the program with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. “Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God”, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.

9/18/2006

Infidel Talking...



A SPECIAL GUEST COMMENTARY
BY
HIS HOLINESS
POPE BENEDICT XVI
(translated from Latin)

Hi folks.

As you might recall, I got a tad... what's the right word?

Testy.

Yeah, I got a bit
testy when I participated in a roundtable talk with Ayatollah of Rock'n Rollah and Rockhead O'Donnell the other day. Angry words word were exchanged, and things got a bit ugly. I'm willing to confess to letting my passions get the best of me. However, I believe in a loving and forgiving God, so I'm not afraid to admit it.

However.

First our brothers and sisters in the Islamic world went all bugshit, pardon my french, over me using a 14th century quote in a rather academic discussion about how one cant's spread true religious faith through violence. I guess quoting people to illustrate their views of Muslims is somehow an offense to Allah.

Well, excuuuuuuusssssse ME!

Now Steve Martin's gonna sue me for copyright
infringement, but what the hell.

I just want to send this simple message to the Muslim people of the world.

WHAT
IS
YOUR
M
AJOR
MALFUNCTION

NUMBNUTS!

I'm serious.

What's wrong with you?

I use a 700 year old quote in an academic discussion and it offends you. However, unlike reasonable people, who when faced with offence argue with logic, you start rioting and raging, firebombing churches (some not even Catholic) and then one of your brave mujahadin SHOOTS A NUN IN THE BACK!

What did this poor lady do to you?

What crime did she commit?


Let's look at her record. She wa
s 65 years old and had dedicated her life to caring for the sick and injured in places like Somalia.

She didn't have to go to Somalia, the armpit of Africa, it's a country notorious for its radical Islamist warlords and where the word 'gratitude' comes after 'gimme' and 'gotcha' in the Somali dictionary.


But she went there anyways. Not for some personal profit, not for glory, but because she was desperately needed. Apparently Somalia's Islamic brethren believe that oil money is better spent on killing people than on building & staffing schools and hospitals.

I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that the cowardly son of a bitch that murdered her is being called a hero by his Islamist buddies. It takes a special type of hero to shoot an old woman in the back.

But what can you do?

Apparently a free and open exchange of ideas with references to historical sources is a great affront to the honour of Allah. (I use their term, because they sure as shit ain't talkin' about the God I love) Also the honour of Allah is so delicate and fragile that it requires homicidal rage and the murder of innocent people to salvage it.

So let me get this straight... I'm a bit of a the
ology buff.

Allah is all powerful. But he also has a fragile ego and demands blood and murder to appease him.

I'm sor
ry, but that ain't no face of God that I'm familiar with.

Let's look at recent history:

Salman Rushdie writes a really boring book. Some Ayatollahs say this book offends Allah, Muslims around the world go into a homicidal rage, and lots of people around the world end up dead.

A Dutch filmmaker makes a movie challenging the treatment of women in the Islamic world. He ends up butchered on the street and the writer of the film has to go into hiding.

Some
Danish cartoonists draw some pretty mild cartoons of Mohammed in the name of free speech. Some Imams add a few of their own, declare that they offend Allah, and once again, lots of people, mostly Muslims end up dead.

And now this.

I'm getting death threats, protests and folks like this running around.

That's got to be the worst effigy of me that's ever been burned. I'm disappointed in that.

Is there something about God's Greatest Gift to Humanity (Free Will) that is somehow offensive to the God that created it?

If it is, why did God create it in the first place?

You wanna know something?

I feel really sorry for the sane, sensible, moderate Muslims out there, folks who believe in a God that is bigger th
an the petty prejudices of their mortal leaders.

Yes, there are some left in the world. But they've been effectively silenced in fear by what used to be the lunatic fringe of their religion.

Now when people hear the words 'Muslim' or 'Islam,' they don't think about the average folks working hard to build better lives for their families, they think about hooded murderers cutting off heads and blowing up schoolchildren.

Now some may say that I'm using hyperbole, but I
use the words 'lunatic fringe' with all seriousness.

Who else but lunatics would demand blood and violence over others saying that they're inherently violent?

Who else but lunatics wouldn't see the irony in that?

Why do I even bother.

Good night, and God bless.

9/16/2006

Vox's Roundtable #1: Holier Than Thou

VOX POPLAR- Hello, and welcome to a new feature here at Vox Poplar Is Right About Everything & Don't You Forget It. It's Vox's Roundtable, the last bastion of sincere and intelligent discussion on the internet. Today the topic is religion and religious violence.

Joining me today is his Holiness, Pope Benedict the XVI. Hello Benny.

BENEDICT XVI- How ya doing.

VOX POPLAR- Great, just great. And representing Islam is Ayatollah Khatami, former President of Iran and current guest lecturer at Harvard for interfaith relations. Welcome Ayatollah.

KHATAMI- Death to the infidel.

VOX POPLAR- We asked the mainstream media to send their deepest spiritual thinker to participate in this show, but they sent Rosie O'Donnell instead.

ROSIE- I really hate working on The View, but I sure love the money.

VOX POPLAR- Now there's a lot of controversy, in fact outright rage, over recent comments made by Pope Benedict. Can you clarify what you said?

BENEDICT XVI- Sure. I was talking about religion and violence and I made a point about how many perceive Islam as being inherently violent. And to do that I used a quote from a 14th century Byzantine Emperor that said the only new ideas that came from Islam were Holy War and violence.

KHATAMI- That is offensive! You have offended me! You must die like an infidel dog!

ROSIE- How dare you offend this poor fellow! You sir are worse than Hitler!

BENEDICT XVI- All right, I'm sorry that you're so touchy and intolerant that you have to react to the slightest criticism with threats of violence and terrorism.

KHATAMI- Thank you... Wait a minute! That's not an apology! That's an insult! You must die! You must all die you pig worshipping monkey fornicators!

BENEDICT XVI- Blow it out your hairy ass Khatami. You see what I'm dealing with here?

VOX POPLAR- I think so.

BENEDICT XVI- Islamic leaders constantly demand respect from everyone else, yet they do nothing to earn that respect. Instead, they expect it to be just given to them out of a fear of terrorism.

Five churches in the Palestinian territories have been either firebombed or shot at, a book about killing the Pope, meaning me, is a bestseller in Turkey. Is that supposed to make me suddenly love them? I don't think so.

KHATAMI- What has your church done to earn respect?

BENEDICT XVI- Two thousand years of deep philosophical and spiritual thought, countless acts of charity, the Renaissance, educating millions worldwide to do something other than blow themselves up.

ROSIE- What about the Crusades and the Inquisition? Hah! Top that Pope-boy!

BENEDICT XVI- You really are dim. I'm not denying that lots of people did a lot of wrong things in the name of Christianity.

ROSIE- He admits it! He admits that Radical Christians are a bigger threat than Radical Muslims!

BENEDICT XVI- Oy. Okay, I'm going to speak slowly, so you can catch on. The Crusades and the Inquisition are what you call 'history,' meaning that they happened a long time ago. Islamic jihad is what's called 'news' which means it is happening right now.

ROSIE- You oppose gay marriage! That makes you worse than Hitler!

BENEDICT XVI- Hitler killed gay people. Khatami-boy has killed gay people and his government is still killing gay people! Yet, in your mind, I'm somehow worse than them because I don't want my church forced to do something that defies our ancient traditional definition of marriage and families! What kind of shit are you smokin' baby? Because it must be pretty potent.

KHATAMI- You worship a slaughtered monkey on a cross! You are a repulsive spiller and drinker of blood who must be beheaded!

ROSIE- You are an Islamophobe Mr. Pope!

BENEDICT XVI- And you're an idiot. You rail against 'radical Christians' and call people 'Islamophobes' because that's what your limousine liberal friends tell you to do.

But how much of what you believe actually connects with reality. When was the last time gangs of radical Christians crashed airplanes into buildings full of people? How many Christian countries have public hangings of homosexuals and so-called apostates? I don't hear any suicide bombers singing 'Onward Christian Soldiers' baby!

ROSIE- How dare you challenge my prejudices with facts!

KHATAMI- You evil pig worshippers are oppressing the Islamic people!

BENEDICT XVI- Oh really. If we're oppressing you, how come your people have been killing so many of my people in the Sudan, Indonesia, Nigeria, and just about every other place where Islam meets the rest of the world?

KHATAMI- I didn't say you were very good at it. Just that you were!

VOX POPLAR- Perhaps we can take a moment to look at what the Democrats like to call 'root causes.'

BENEDICT XVI- I'll tell you the root cause of Islamophobia. It's caused by Muslims dammit! People say they respect the Islamic Faith, but it's not real respect, it's just lip service because crackpots like Khatami here will get a lot of people killed because they got offended.

How many people, Muslims mostly, were killed over a frigging bogus cartoon. Hundreds? Thousands? Meanwhile we got so-called 'artistes' making images of the Blessed Virgin Mary out of elephant shit, and I haven't heard of anyone being killed because of that.

Let's look at the facts. A Christian goes nuts and kills people over their religious or political views these days and the bulk of Christians will declare him nuttier than a bag of almonds. But a Muslim blows himself up, killing a lot of innocent people, he's declared a martyr and praised from Mosque pulpits from Algeria to Zanzibar.

ROSIE- You sir, are a racist.

BENEDICT XVI- And you're dumber than a sack of skunks. Moderate Muslims are afraid of speaking out, because they'll be killed as 'apostates' and the majority of Muslims will let it slide, because they're scared of their fellow Muslims too. If Islam is going to survive the free fall it's in, it has to do these things:

· Eliminate so called Islamic Republics. Even the Grand Ayatollah Sistani says they only serve to breed atheism.

· Stop supporting terrorism.

· Stop replacing lousy secular governments with lousy Islamic governments.

· And stop blaming your own screw ups on everybody else. The fact that your life sucks ain't my fault, it ain't Israel's fault, and it ain't America's fault.

Now I've said my piece.

VOX POPLAR- That's a lot of passion Your Holiness.

KHATAMI- Infidel pig you must die!

BENEDICT XVI- Fine, bring it on beeotch! You don't scare me. I was taught by nuns. Nothing scares me anymore!

VOX POPLAR- Okay, I think we'll call it a wrap for now. See you later.

9/13/2006

And now a few minutes with Andy Rooney...

You know what really bugs me?

People who are trying to kill me. That really bugs me.

Naturally I try to think about the reasons why people want to kill me. This week with all the talk about 9/11, I've been able to spare a few moments from griping about airline peanuts or the price of shoes to figure it all out.

People want to kill me because I'm an American.

It's not like I wanted to be an American, I was born that way, can't help it. But there must be some reason why people want to kill Americans.

Now I could probably take some time to consider the bigotry, fascist tendencies, and religious zealotry of those who hate us, but that would be racist, so I'm going to completely ignore that part of the argument.

And that only leaves me with one thing.

We, as Americans, must have done something to piss these people off.

It has to be our fault.

Nobody else on Earth is really capable of any thought or action that's in anyway independent of the things we, as Americans, do.

It must be our fault, so I've made up this list of things we could do to make people stop hating us:

  1. Eliminate variety in religion. We let Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and over a dozen varieties of Christians run wild in this country. It makes us look wishy-washy and that seems to leave a lot of people on this planet confused and angry. So let's pick one religion and stick with it, like that Adam Gadahn fellow suggested.

  2. Stop being so damn tolerant. Not only do we let a whole bunch of religious folks loose in this country, but we also appear to be tolerating homosexuals. Sure, those Nazis in the religious right won't let them marry, but they're not having them stoned to death, and that ticks people off.

  3. Stop being so damn successful. We've built the richest and most powerful country on Earth through hard work and the sort of creativity found only in free societies. We must stop that immediately. Folks are graciously inviting us to join them in living in the 7th century, but, greedy bunch we are, we're sticking with the 21st. That's really rude and deserves the suicide bombings and mass murders they throw our way.

  4. Stop defending ourselves. I think we've learned from Israel's recent experience in Lebanon that defending your liberty and your lives just isn't worth it when you're making people angry. So let's stop protecting our so-called freedom, prosperity and diversity. It's only making them hate us even more.
So let's give up our mad policy of prosperity, freedom, tolerance, and self-defence, it's only making folks hate us more. Goodnight.

9/08/2006

This story just keeps getting better...

Here's a copy of the letter Senate Democrats have sent to Disney/ABC CEO Robert Iger to command him to ban their miniseries on 9/11. They're even implying to pull ABC's broadcast license if the win the majority in November.

If they succeed it will be the death of free speech.

September 7, 2006

Mr. Robert A. Iger

President and CEO

The Walt Disney Company

500 South Buena Vista Street

Burbank CA 91521

Dear Mr. Iger,

We write with serious concerns about the planned upcoming broadcast of The Path to 9/11 mini-series on September 10 and 11. Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day. Furthermore, the manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC. We therefore urge you to cancel this broadcast to cease Disney’s plans to use it as a teaching tool in schools across America through Scholastic. Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.

Disney and ABC claim this program to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report and are using that assertion as part of the promotional campaign for it. The 9/11 Commission is the most respected American authority on the 9/11 attacks, and association with it carries a special responsibility. Indeed, the very events themselves on 9/11, so tragic as they were, demand extreme care by any who attempt to use those events as part of an entertainment or educational program. To quote Steve McPhereson, president of ABC Entertainment, “When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right.”

Unfortunately, it appears Disney and ABC got it totally wrong.

Despite claims by your network’s representatives that The Path to 9/11 is based on the report of the 9/11 Commission, 9/11 Commissioners themselves, as well as other experts on the issues, disagree.

  • Richard Ben-Veniste, speaking for himself and fellow 9/11 Commissioners who recently viewed the program, said, “As we were watching, we were trying to think how they could have misinterpreted the 9/11 Commission’s findings the way that they had.” [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]
  • Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism czar, and a national security advisor to ABC has described the program as “deeply flawed” and said of the program’s depiction of a Clinton official hanging up on an intelligence agent, “It’s 180 degrees from what happened.” [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]
  • Reports suggest that an FBI agent who worked on 9/11 and served as a consultant to ABC on this program quit halfway through because, “he thought they were making things up.” [MSNBC, September 7, 2006]
  • Even Thomas Kean, who serves as a paid consultant to the miniseries, has admitted that scenes in the film are fictionalized. [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]
  • That Disney would seek to broadcast an admittedly and proven false recounting of the events of 9/11 raises serious questions about the motivations of its creators and those who approved the deeply flawed program. Finally, that Disney plans to air commercial-free a program that reportedly cost it $40 million to produce serves to add fuel to these concerns.

    These concerns are made all the more pressing by the political leaning of and the public statements made by the writer/producer of this miniseries, Mr. Cyrus Nowrasteh, in promoting this miniseries across conservative blogs and talk shows.

    Frankly, that ABC and Disney would consider airing a program that could be construed as right-wing political propaganda on such a grave and important event involving the security of our nation is a discredit both to the Disney brand and to the legacy of honesty built at ABC by honorable individuals from David Brinkley to Peter Jennings. Furthermore, that Disney would seek to use Scholastic to promote this misguided programming to American children as a substitute for factual information is a disgrace.

    As 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick said, “It is critically important to the safety of our nation that our citizens, and particularly our school children, understand what actually happened and why – so that we can proceed from a common understanding of what went wrong and act with unity to make our country safer.”

    Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.

    Sincerely,

    Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid

    Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin

    Senator Debbie Stabenow

    Senator Charles Schumer

    Senator Byron Dorgan

    9/07/2006

    There Are Real Threats Out There!

    A PAID POLITICAL ANNOUNCEMENT
    FROM
    SENATOR HARRY REID
    (D-NEVer ADmit Anything)

    My fellow Americans.

    We live in a dangerous time. Death and destruction looms over this country like a great big... um... looming thing. And it threatens to destroy us all.

    I'm not talking about international terrorism, Islamic fascism, or even the evil that is Wal-Mart.

    I'm talking about a TV miniseries.

    The evil ABC corporation has decided to destroy this great country of ours by airing a miniseries about the events and decisions that led to the tragedy of 9/11/01. And to add insult to injury, they dared to expose the fecklessness, recklessness, and foolishness of the Clinton Administration.

    The film's producer's claim that their story is backed up by facts.

    FACTS!

    How dare they use facts against a Democratic presidency!

    That's why we Democrats are demanding that the miniseries be pulled, it's producers blacklisted, and all copies of this ABOMINATION destroyed.

    Sure, their dramatizations have foundations in actual events, but we're talking about Democrats! We have the monopoly on what simple people consider truth!

    Goddamn it!

    Why do we control media if we can't make it do what we say?

    That's why we're taking some rather drastic steps. Steps no Republican would dare take because the media would start shitting kittens if they dared try.

    We are demanding that the film be pulled and replaced by something WE DEMOCRATS deem to be more truthful, like Fahrenheit 9/11, or Loose Change, or Syriana. George Clooney got fat for Syriana, that's gotta mean something!

    Now there are those who would consider this a grievous violation of free speech. But you must remember, the Democratic Party reserves the right to decide what speech is worthy of being free. It's just the way it is!

    So join me and my fellow Democrats in standing up against this terrible threat to our nation's security.

    Forget about the terrorists, they only want to kill us and destroy our civilisation, this evil miniseries is the true danger.

    It might make people think badly of the Clintons.

    Thank you and good night.

    9/05/2006

    I'm Back in The Movie Business!

    My short film The Plame Blame Game is now playing at the MoxArgon Group's InterGalactic Internet Film Festival, but I've decided to show it here. I'd like to thank Xran the Fleshrender for financing and releasing the film. Though the plasma rifle to my head did show a certain level of mistrust.
    Anyhoo. Enjoy.