Syria To Allow UN Inspectors To Visit Site of Possible Chemical Attack

ReasonReasonSince last Wednesday’s possible chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus the Assad regime has come under international pressure to allow United Nations weapons inspectors, who were in Damascus before the attack began, to examine the site of the attack.

Today Syria's deputy foreign minister said that U.N. weapons inspectors will be allowed access to the areas where opposition activists claim chemical weapons were used.

From CNN:

Damascus, Syria (CNN) -- Syria will allow U.N. inspectors full access to any site of a purported chemical weapons attack, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad told CNN on Sunday.

The agreement is effective immediately, he said.

But a senior U.S. official called it too little, too late.

The inspectors hope to begin their probe on Monday at the site of last week's suspected chemical attack, according to a statement from the office of the U.N. secretary-general.

Al Mekdad said logistics need to be worked out, since arriving at the site will require crossing into rebel-controlled territory.

The announcement comes shortly after President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron both threatened a “serious response” if it was confirmed that chemical weapons were used in the recent massacre.

From the BBC:

The UK and the US have threatened a "serious response" if it emerges Syria used chemical weapons last week, Downing Street has said.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama spoke on the phone for 40 minutes on Saturday.

Both were "gravely concerned" by "increasing signs that this was a significant chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime".

The Syrian regime and opposition have accused each other over the attacks.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) both called for a military response to the possible chemical attack. However, they disagree on Congress’ role in authorizing intervention.

From The Washington Post:

Top lawmakers on Sunday  urged President Obama to take quick action against the Syrian government.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking minority member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) pushed for a quick U.S. response to the Syrian government’s reported use of chemical weapons though disagreeing on the role Congress should play in that response

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  • prolefeed||

    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) both called for a military response to the possible chemical attack. However, they disagree on Congress’ role in authorizing intervention.

    Trying to figure out why it is any business at all of the fed govt what happens in that nasty civil war in Syria.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Consider this a sort of poll question: is there any level of atrocity that would justify U.S. military action?

    I think there is, but I'm not sure how to define it. I'd certainly support military intervention if people were being exterminated like in WWII, but that's a cop out because it is the most extreme case. I'm curious what others think about this.

  • prolefeed||

    Can't think of any level of atrocity involving just Syrians killing Syrians that would justify U.S. involvement.

    Just because bad things happen somewhere else in the world doesn't mean the feds should get involved, as long as no innocent Americans are being harmed.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Just because no innocent Americans are being harmed doesn't mean the US doesn't have an interest.

  • prolefeed||

    The US federal government has lots of interests, such as the NSA reading our emails, drone murdering Americans, and other nefarious purposes.

    Perhaps you could explain what non-nefarious interests of the fed government might justify involvement in a foreign civil war, despite no innocent Americans being harmed?

  • Finrod||

    Well, Syria does border multiple allies of ours, Israel and Iraq; Israel can very likely take care of itself but Iraq is dealing with a flood of refugees right now.

    I don't have any answers as to what we should do but then again no one elected me to anything, either.

  • ||

    Iraq is an ally? Who knew?

  • Rhywun||

    We had to bomb it to see what was in it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    What interests we have are aligned with Assad, not the al-Qaeda aligned rebels. This whole fucking clusterfuck makes even less sense than Iraq. Way to make GWB look competent once again, BO.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I have to agree with Tulpa here. A stable Syria that is a transit point for natural gas rather than terrorism is probably most likely to stem from an Assad regime.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And what's our interest in Syria? As others have pointed out, it's honkey-dorey if their killing each other with guns, but gas is just beyond the pale?

  • ||

    A response to 9/11 was completely justified. How and who we killed is the issue.

    Or were you speaking of attacks not inside our borders?

  • prolefeed||

    I think the question was about foreign civil wars or the equivalent, not domestic attacks on innocent American civilians.

  • Blinded by the Derp||

    My heart says if people are being gassed that's terrible. I wish there was a way the US could stop that.

    My head says:
    isn't each side using questionable tactics?
    aren't there three groups Assad, islamist, and moderates, and the Assads and islamists keep attacking and pilfering the much smaller group of moderates? So there is no group worth supporting in any way.
    God another war, and mess for the US to clean up for over ten years.

  • Killazontherun||

    If in the scenario where entire cities in foreign lands were being nuked were to occur, you would have the extremely rare event where the readied resources at the disposal of the federal government has the potential of being used for a greater good than the malevolence that went into their formation in the first place. Whether they would be used to prevent more harm than they caused is another question. Likely no if history is any guide even under the condition where the best of intentions was the guiding principle.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Yes. When the atrocities are against Americans inside American borders military action is justified. It's called self defense (the real meaning of "national security").

    Of course, you can raise any number of hypotheticals, but any way you slice it, what is happening in Syria is not even vaguely related to U.S. national security. For that matter, neither is that worthless strip of beach front property known as Israel.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Anti-dentite!

  • Dave Krueger||

    Haha. I had to look that up.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It's the red wine working on me. My pop culture knowledge must be released.

  • Tejicano||

    I think that the US should get involved in situations like Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge was rounding people up by the hundreds of thousands and shipping them off to die in labor camps. I literally had skin in the game at the time and still think we did the wrong thing in walking away from that one.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Consider this a sort of poll question: is there any level of atrocity that would justify U.S. military action?

    You mean a level of atrocity that would justify forcing taxpayers to pay for a war and forcing our citizens to die in it? Nope.

    But if your conscience is troubled by something happening in another country, grab some rifles and some like minded friends and buy a ticket to go there and fight for your beliefs. There is a long tradition of Americans doing this.

  • bmp1701||

    “We have to move, and we have to move quickly,” said Engel on U.S. military action, adding that “Congress needs to be involved, but perhaps not initially.”

    "Perhaps not initially." The sound you heard accompanying that state was the sound of each and every signer of the Constitution rolling over in their graves.

  • bmp1701||

    "accompanying that state" should have been "accompanying that statement"

    Excuse me, now I have to launch VX shells at the squirrels.

  • LynchPin1477||

    disagreeing on the role Congress should play in that response

    If only there were some legal document that expressly stated the power and responsibility of Congress in declaring war and authorizing military action. Anyone know of one? Maybe with an original copy located within walking distance of the capitol?

  • CatoTheElder||

    There is an old document called the "Constitution" that was written over a hundred years ago. However the parts about military action suffered from necrosis, and had to be replaced with the living Constitution that empowers the President to do anything he damn well pleases.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I think I remember seeing this document once or twice. But the writing was old and faded and in, like, Lucida Calligraphy, or something. So who knows what it says.

  • bmp1701||

    Why is death by gas attack the great taboo that necessitates military intervention? How is it considered worse than artillery bombardment or an attack by heavy armor?

  • Acosmist||

    This.

    I'm also unclear on why we have to use fully jacketed bullets.

  • ||

    Because it is inhumane to shoot someone with effective bullets....or something.

    BTW, slowing the twist in the rifling is a simple fix for fmj bullets.

  • bmp1701||

    But there are consequences for accuracy when you reduce the twist.

  • ||

    After vietnam ended the military spent most of it's shooting time concentrating on target shooting, and MOA accuracy was important. So they sped the twist up.

    In combat, if you can hit within 4-6 inches of where you are aiming you will be very effective. Wobbly bullets in the 52-60gr range traveling at 3000+ fps are devastating, even if they only land approximately where they are aimed. They destroy huge amounts of tissue.

    The same bullet, stabilized and striking the target perfectly perpendicular and exactly where aimed only makes a pinhole.

    Slowing the twist in the ARs from 1:7-1:8 down to 1:12 would bring us back to having a single hit removing arms and legs.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Slowing the twist in the ARs from 1:7-1:8 down to 1:12 would bring us back to having a single hit removing arms and legs.

    I'm pretty sure that's an urban martial myth. The destabilized bullets did break up when they yawed, but they weren't that much more effective than a JHP would be. We never did sign that treaty, so if we decided to we COULD start using them at just about any time. Hell, our snipers kind-of-sort-of use them, in the form of bullets similar to the Sierra Match King, which have a small cavity at the tip for accuracy reasons, and consequentially allows those bullets to mushroom a bit.

  • Redmanfms||

    Slowing the twist in the ARs from 1:7-1:8 down to 1:12 would bring us back to having a single hit removing arms and legs.

    Which is bullshit that never actually happened. This is yet another example of why you don't come to Reason for gun info, folks.

    The old M193 through the 1 in 12 barrels wasn't any more likely to fragment that the M855 through 1 in 7 was; I strongly recommend you research some actual ballistics research rather than repeating things you heard in some gun shop. You can start with Fackler.

    And your riff on MOA is also bullshit. The move to a higher twist was because the heavier 62gr. rounds needed the extra twist to properly stabilize. The move to the 62gr. was because of the proliferation of armor in Soviet forces. The greater ballistic coefficient of the longer, heavier round was thought to improve armor penetration (in addition to the steel core).

    The truth is, the M16A2 was only marginally more accurate than the M16 and M16A1 it replaced.

  • prolefeed||

    Why is death by gas attack the great taboo that necessitates military intervention? How is it considered worse than artillery bombardment or an attack by heavy armor?

    Seems like murder is murder.

    About all I can think of is that it is easier for a terrorist to attack targets in the U.S. using poison gas than using tanks or artillery, hence the knee jerk fear of it becoming acceptable to use elsewhere.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It's like a hate crime

  • ||

    Because it's like being murdered by a hate crime instead of just getting murdered.

  • David Emami||

    At a knee-jerk level, it's from the same mental place that causes people to fear witchcraft, and makes other people suffer from mysophobia (fear of germs). Dangers are less scary the more clearly we understand them.

    On a more-rational level, there's no moral difference between one person being shot and one person being gassed. However, poison gas is less discriminating than a bullet is. Using gas implies less concern for innocent bystanders. Essentially you have a spectrum, with bare hands at one end, and (IMO) biological weapons at the other.

  • Irish||

    OT: Man spends 4 years in prison after false accusation of rape. Once it's found to be a lie his accuser gets sentenced to 60 days in prison to be served on weekends.

  • John||

    I am torn on that issue. On the one hand justice demands she go to prison for a very long time. On the other hand, if you give these women the prison sentence they deserve, it is going to deter women from admitting their lies and setting innocent people free. There is no good answer. I am not sure that sending them to prison for false accusations is going to deter the kind of sick mind that would do such a thing. The woman in this case did when she was 14. Would sending her to prison really deter other 14 year old girls? Maybe. But likely such girls who would do such a thing are so immature and self absorbed that nothing will deter them. But sending this woman to jail for years would most certainly deter them as a adults from recanting and doing the right thing.

    I see both sides. But I am not ready to condemn these sorts of sentences.

  • Irish||

    I get your point, but this is what got me:

    Montgomery’s life was ruined and he spent four years in jail. Coast however was sentenced by Hampton Circuit Court Judge Bonnie L. Jones to just two months in jail and ordered to make $90,000 in restitution for perjury. Jones suspended the rest of the five-year sentence and even allowed Coast to serve the remainder on weekends so not to disrupt her life.

    Not to disrupt her life? What about the guy who just lost his entire adolescence to this woman? I think she should get some punishment that might at least vex her a bit, instead of having to spend a few dozen weekends in a cell. I could do that in my sleep.

  • R C Dean||

    I like the way the State had no qualms about tagging her for $90K "restitution" to the state, but couldn't bring itself to care much about the part of her punishment that might actually relate to the harm she did to an actual, you know, citizen.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    The disgusting thing here is that the state is getting restitution when they were essentially an accomplice in locking this guy up.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    But, if that's the case, why should we have murderers given stiff sentences? Or arsonists? Or rapists? If we do that won't it just deter murderers, arsonists, and rapists from admitting their crimes?

  • ||

    I thought that Bush was an asshole and a liar/dupe for using the pretext of "WMDs" to invade Iraq? I thought chemical weapons were part of those WMDs? Obviously I was mistaken.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    BOOOSH!

    Seriously, you should know the rules by now - don't mention Bush (it makes the GOP look bad).

  • ||

    WOOOSH!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    As for the substance of your remark, Hans Blix and other inspectors could find no WMD in Iraq prior to our invasion of that country. Iraq's WMD was a fabrication while Syria's is still an open question.

  • Finrod||

    Yeah, just keep telling yourself that the chemical weapons we found in Iraq weren't really there, shreek.

  • Agammamon||

    Not that I *want* to support that arsehole, but we didn't ever actually find any chemical weapons in Iraq the second time we invaded.

    The most we found was couple of sites that had some of the manufacturing equipment, mothballed and non-functional.

    We never found more than a left-over trace of actual weapons, certainly not the material that was supposedly ready for firing at our invasion force the moment we crossed the border.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    To be fair, Saddam did have chemical and biological weapons...in the 80s. The U.S. government gave him tech and viral samples to accelerate the program. But most people don't realize that chemical and biological weapons actually have expiry dates. Whatever weapons he had left after the war with Iran would've been inactive before 2000.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    True, but Saddam was an ally of Reagan then.

  • ant1sthenes||

    He was a liar and a dupe. It was very sad how, when we didn't find WMDs, conservatives tried to claim Saddam moved them to Syria. Yeah, pull the other one!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    OT: Sex scandal appears to be breeding sex scandal in San Diego, as Carl DeMaio, a potential Republican candidate to replace now ex-Mayor Bob Filner, has been accused of openly masturbating in the City Hall men’s room during his time as a city councilman.

    “There never has been a public accounting of how during 2009 DeMaio allegedly would leave the San Diego City Council dais during meetings to masturbate in a men’s room—events known by elected officials and suspected by members of the media,” wrote Rex Dalton of VoiceofOC.org, adding:

    http://www.mediaite.com/online.....ccused-of/

  • bmp1701||

    Describing the scene that spring when he walked in on DeMaio, who was in front of a urinal with his pants down, Hueso said: ‘DeMaio was masturbating. He jumped, caught by surprise. He jumped to the sink … saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” about six times.

    Dude, isn't that what the stalls are for?

  • OldMexican||

    Hueso said: ‘DeMaio was masturbating. He jumped, caught by surprise. He jumped to the sink... saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" about six times.


    Gee, doesn't this sound too...untrue?

  • Irish||

    Is there anyone involved in San Diego politics who isn't a perv?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Is there anyone involved in San Diego politics who isn't a perv?

    FIFY

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    has been accused of openly masturbating in the City Hall men’s room during his time as a city councilman.


    Ok, so Filner molested a few dozen women o so... But, look at this Republican! He masturbated in the can! In a public can! For all to... see! I guess!

    -- Wait, don't even public rest room stalls have doors on them? So how would someone know what he was doing in the can, and isn't it creepy that someone would be paying attention to what the former councilman was doing in the can?

    Yes! But, still... uh... Stop using logic to destroy my narrative!

  • OldMexican||

    Makes you think about all the creepy things that go on in these City Hall rest rooms.

  • Killazontherun||

    That's not shrike's point. The blowback and natural consequences of the Republican War on Women have reduced them to shamefully jacking off in public bathrooms because women wont go near them unless paid to do so. Whereas, Democratic men can still hold their heads up high and grab ass on the women in a manful and dignified manner.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    There never has been a public accounting of how during 2009 DeMaio allegedly would leave the San Diego City Council dais during meetings to masturbate in a men’s room—

    WTF, doesn't he know your supposed to masturbate in public like Hairy Reed and Obama.

  • ||

    Also, why would Assad be stupid enough to use chemical weapons when a six-year-old knows what the ramifications of that would be. Maybe there's some other faction that would have a huge motivation to do this?

  • prolefeed||

    Perhaps Assad is getting desperate to hang onto power? It seems like a last ditch resort, but sometimes a dictator winds up in that last ditch.

  • ||

    Possibly, but many reports have his position as getting stronger recently in the last few weeks.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Maybe, but it seems to me that if Assad was doing this out of desperation he'd go whole hog and use a big shitload of gas rather than just a little here and there. Gassing a handful of people isn't going to scare off the rebels and he knows that.

  • John||

    Not sure about that. It might. It depends on how much gas he has. If he has a lot and they know it, using a little as a demonstration of what you are willing to do would have an effect.

    The problem is that gas isn't any good as a military weapon. It is great at killing and terrorizing civilians. But it doesn't work worth a damn against military targets. They can move and avoid it. They can issue gas masks. And to the extent it limits the enemy's effectiveness, it limits yours too. It really only works if you are attacking fixed fortifications like bunkers or caves, where the enemy can't move to avoid it and it is unlikely to drift onto your own people.

  • R C Dean||

    Or this: Conduct a few limited/deniable gas attacks to "normalize" them and create the precedent for them being tolerated. Once that's in hand, escalate like you are boiling a frog.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Sometimes even dictators don't have complete control over their own people. Assad got the job via nepotism. He's the figure head of a military controlled cabal. Even if Assad were to be ousted, the same power structure would remain - much like Egypt. Why would the leadership be so stupid? People do stupid things when their desperate.

  • ||

    It is not uncommon in that part of the world for groups to commit unspeakable atrocities on their own side in order to blame it on their enemies. That is the first thing that popped into my head when I heard about chem attacks there. They are probably either faked or committed by the FSA.

  • John||

    It is entirely possible this was a false flag operation. There are a ton of WMDs floating around the middle east. If the opposition were to obtain some of them, the smart thing to do would be something like this that can be blamed on Assad and cause the world to intervene on your side. That would do your cause a lot more good than any tactical gain using the weapons on your enemies would get you.

  • Irish||

    That would do your cause a lot more good than any tactical gain using the weapons on your enemies would get you.

    Actually, it makes more sense to gas your own people than the opponent. If you gas your opponent, that could bring the West in against you, which would guarantee your defeat. Gas your own people and lie about it and it could win the war.

  • John||

    Exactly. And if your plan is to take over the country, what is the point of using gas? Someday you plan to run the place. So killing everyone with gas kind of defeats the purpose. The only way using gas makes sense is if you are in some kind of ethnic conflict like Iraq where your goal is to kill everyone in an area so your tribe can move in.

  • Jon Lester||

    Quite a few rebels have plainly said that they want to eradicate all Alawites, Christians, Druze and anyone else who isn't a Sunni salafist, and they're really not applying much nuance in how they go about it.

  • seguin||

    Better yet, gas rivals who are ostensibly "on the same side" but might present an issue if you win in conjunction with them. You get rid of your rivals while bringing the wrath of the West down on your enemy. Win-win.

  • John||

    Because he doesn't think there will be any ramifications. At that point would you not call Obama's bluff? If the alternative is losing the civil war and being strung up, I certainly would.

    These are the wages of having a dithering incompetent President. No one believes him or trusts him. Thus, they miscalculate and do things that cause wars. There are some things even Obama can't let go. When the world thinks he is an idiot who never backs up his talk, those things tend to happen more often.

  • DJF||

    How can the Syrian government grant access to rebel controlled areas, they don't have any control over them?

    Shouldn’t the US government have been demanding that the Syrian rebels give access to areas they control?

  • Nazdrakke||

    CAUTION: Atheism and Morality subthread in progress below. Please stand clear of the self-righteousness and butthurt, and watch for flying Ad Hominems. By proceeding you assume responsibility for your own mental well-being. Good Luck.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    I was hoping they'd finally resolve the issue so we can get on with our lives.

  • SIV||

    Those religionists are always squabbling about something.

  • Gene||

    Oh yeah, start a shitstorm and then fuck off for six hours, look at the mess you made.

  • SIV||

    Blog post and comment thread of the year nominee over at the Popehat

  • John||

    It is a restatement of the charge that American atheists believe in nihilism without the abyss. It is not that believing in God is self evident or rejecting God is irrational. It is not self evident and there is nothing irrational about being an Atheist. It is that once you reject God, there are some logical conclusions that follow from that. Most important of which is that there really isn't some greater or higher universal truth. There is the cold, observable universe and our tiny little place in it and that is it. There is no one better or worse way to make your way through it. You may find some ways and some ideas to your liking and good for you. But you have no claim that your way is any better or worse. Thus believing in "natural law" is really no different than believing in God. It may make you feel better. It may make your little piece of the world better in your view when it is followed. But it is still just an act of faith and not really anything universal or irrefutable.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    But you have no claim that your way is any better or worse.

    Oh, bullshit. It doesn't require God to make an argument that killing people because you want their shoes is worse than buying the shoes.

  • John||

    Why is it worse? From the guy who gets the shoes perspective it is a hell of a lot better. Who are you to say he is wrong about that? Maybe he needed the shoes more. And even if he didn't, his perspective is a lot more important to him than yours. What the fuck does he care if you think he was wrong according to your little morality system?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Why is it worse?

    Because even the guy doing the killing, in the absence of sociopathy or some other mental problem, recognizes that he doesn't want the same thing to happen to him or someone about whom he cares.

  • John||

    Sure, he doesn't want the same thing to happen to him. But him not killing the guy does nothing to ensure that won't happen. His refusal to kill for the shoes are not going to magically prevent some future murderer from killing him. so the issue is, does he want the shoes and can he get away with it. If does and he can, why not kill the guy? Where is the down side to doing it? Guilt I guess. But you only feel guilty if you think it is wrong and there is really no reason to think that.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    But him not killing the guy does nothing to ensure that won't happen.

    Who said it would?

    His refusal to kill for the shoes are not going to magically prevent some future murderer from killing him.

    Who said it would?

    Guilt I guess. But you only feel guilty if you think it is wrong and there is really no reason to think that.

    The fact that he doesn't want it to happen to him goes a long way toward showing that he does think it is wrong, even if he can rationalize it to himself. Even the fucking Nazis didn't want documentation of the camps. Whenever you are doing something to someone else that you wouldn't want them to do to you the chances are pretty good you're doing something you understand to be wrong.

  • John||

    The fact that he doesn't want it to happen to him goes a long way toward showing that he does think it is wrong

    No. It just shows that it is a bad thing to have happen to you. To say that it is "wrong" when it happens to someone else you have to assume he cares about what happens to someone else and why does he have to do that?

    Even the fucking Nazis didn't want documentation of the camps.

    So what? That was only because they thought people finding out might hurt the war effort or cause them harm if the war was ever lost. That doesn't mean they thought it was wrong. And even if the did, so what? That doesn't mean it was wrong, it just means they thought it was wrong or for some irrational reason felt guilty about it.

    You deny God, but then you keep slipping in all of these other concepts like "reason" and "guilt" to stand in for God. Sorry, that doesn't work. Those concepts are just as arbitrary as you say God is. You like them and you have a way of using them that appeals to you. But there is nothing to say I or anyone else can't reject them and be no more or less "moral" than you are. By your standard sure. But some people have other standards. And those are just as valid as yours.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If you think reason is arbitrary, why are you fucking trying to use it? Failing, but trying.

    Do you not see the idiocy in arguing that worldviews are arbitrary and any one is as good as any other while trying to argue that yours is right? You can't fucking be right if there is no such thing.

  • John||

    If you think reason is arbitrary,

    Reason is only as good as the assumptions you feed into it. Changes the assumptions and the answer changes but the logic is just as valid.

    Beyond that, who ever said "reason" was some higher good? Why can't feeling or emotion be? We are not Vulcans after all. You think reason is the highest good. But again, that is an assumption you make because you like it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Beyond that, who ever said "reason" was some higher good?

    A shit-load of Greeks circa 5th Century BC.

    Jus' sayin'

  • John||

    A shit-load of Greeks circa 5th Century BC.

    And a shit load of Romantics in the 19th Century said just the opposite. They all ended up dead just like everyone else. So who is to say that either was right or wrong?

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:54PM |#
    "And a shit load of Romantics in the 19th Century said just the opposite. They all ended up dead just like everyone else. So who is to say that either was right or wrong?"

    Yes, John, now and romaticism puts airplanes in the sky, right?
    Now tell us how 'equal' they are.

  • John||

    NEM,

    Where have I ever said mine was right? I am just calling you people delusional for thinking you have some kind of claim on a higher truth. You don't have any higher truth. You have a bunch of made up rules that make you happy. And good for you. But do yourself a favor and stop pretending that you are so much more rational and in tune with reality than anyone else.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 3:04PM |#
    ..."I am just calling you people delusional for thinking you have some kind of claim on a higher truth."...

    Says the man with the magic friend. Too good!

  • John||

    The truth hurts SEVO. You are no different, no better or no worse than the lowest fundie. In fact, they might be better than you. They at least admit their faith is faith.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -It is that once you reject God, there are some logical conclusions that follow from that. Most important of which is that there really isn't some greater or higher universal truth.

    John, do you think that what makes that which is right right is simply that God says it is? If not I do not see how the theist is in any different position than anyone else.

  • John||

    In short NEM, "because I say so" is no more compelling than "because God told me so", assuming you don't believe in the God. You think killing is wrong. Good for you. Others disagree. And indeed you would, unless you are a strict pacifist, disagree with yourself if the situation were right. All of it is just rules we make up to make ourselves feel better.

  • Xenocles||

    Explain how "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must" is not the only apparent natural law.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It is. That's not the same thing as claiming that every action is indistinguishably morally as good or bad as any other action. There's no need for the existence of an objective morality to have morality.

  • John||

    It is exactly the same thing. And it is the logical conclusion of materialistic atheism. If there is no higher power or intelligence to measure human ideas and morality against, they are all the same. They only differ in that some are more appealing to you personally than others.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    So is it only the belief in God that keeps you from raping, murdering, and stealing?

  • John||

    So is it only the belief in God that keeps you from raping, murdering, and stealing?

    If I didn't believe in God my desire not to go to prison and the fact that I don't enjoy those activities would prevent me. Now, I could invent some personal code that said that was wrong and thus would not do it because of my code of honor. And that is a perfectly fine way to live. But my code of honor is just as made up as any God. It is just something I made up to make life easier and give me pleasure and affirmation.

  • sarcasmic||

    In order for society to function then there must be some rules. Some morality beyond "might makes right."

    Some base their morality on legislation. Basically that's "might makes right" because government is the last word in violence. But it is also perverse because there are no grounding principles. If legislation says slavery is OK, is it any less abhorrent? Not if might makes right is your only guiding principle.

    Religious people base their morality upon interpretations of words written down by people who claim to speak to spirits and other invisible friends. That's fucked up if you ask me, but if it works and they live moral lives, I've got no problem with it.

    Then there are many atheists like myself who base our morality on self-ownership and the non-aggression principle. Why? Where does that come from? Well, it's just some words pulled out of the ether that happen to be good logical principles upon which to base a system of morality that allows people to live in a relatively peaceful society.

    I don't claim superiority, but I could. I really could. The difference I guess is that I have something you lack: respect.

    Fuck off.

  • John||

    In order for society to function then there must be some rules. Some morality beyond "might makes right."

    No there doesn't. Most of civilization has been the strong man ruling. And beyond that, who said society has to function? Maybe i don't want society to function? Who said I had to worry about your society?

    Take your fantasy morality and rules and fuck off. You don't have any claim on the truth. No one has to listen to you. People can make up their own rules and their own morality. What claim do you have that yours is any better than theirs?

  • sarcasmic||

    John and his invisible friend, in a tree...

  • sarcasmic||

    Oh, and Jesus was a hippie socialist. He can fuck off too.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:03PM |#
    "It is exactly the same thing."

    No, John it isn't. And it's always amazing to see how much bullshit you're shovel to justify your silly bleefs.
    Taking a cue from a magic being is not the same as observing what is successful in human society over X year, no matter what the voices in your head say.

  • John||

    Taking a cue from a magic being is not the same as observing what is successful in human society over X year, no matter what the voices in your head say.

    Law and justice and ethics are just self evident. There is a code that we can all access and agree on and build a great society.

    Who is faith based here? Can you be more of a child? People can't agree on any of that stuff. But you still think it exists. It is just that no one can agree what it is. That is pathetic. It worst than the most simplistic theist. You kick out God and substitute a bunch made up bullshit and pretend that means anything. There is no one law. There is no one way things have to be. There is not even necessarily any reason for society to be "successful" whatever that. There are just things and rules that you like better than others. And you pretend that that has some higher meaning. And that is fine. But you might want to have a little humility when you are accusing other people of living on a fantasy.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:19PM |#
    "Who is faith based here?"

    You are, John, not me.
    Observing what is successful requires only 'faith' that it repeats. Sorta like what happens when you add one and one.

  • John||

    bserving what is successful requires only 'faith' that it repeats. Sorta like what happens when you add one and one.

    That requires agreeing on what "success" even means you half wit. You think you know what success means because you pretend your preferences are somehow universal truths. You live in a fantasy world.

  • ||

    No one is kicking out God.

    Morality doesn't come from God. God came from morality. That's why the prevailing religions of the times have reflected the prevailing morality of the times, and not vice-versa.

    If morality came from God, it would still be cool to genocide any society that didn't like your God. The God of the Old Testament is rightly ridiculed for being an evil murderous fuck, because his ass was murdered by the evolution of human mortality. If God was setting the rules, we could still own slaves and wives we would be fully subjugated to men.

    There's no need to kick God out. God is only a reflection of what society has evolved to accept.

  • John||

    If morality came from God, it would still be cool to genocide any society that didn't like your God.

    who says it isn't still cool? You and your silly rules and morality? All you clowns do is make up rules and pretend that they mean something.

  • John||

    God is only a reflection of what society has evolved to accept.

    So right and wrong is whatever society decides it is? That is rationally consistent. But I doubt you really believe that or will like the results that it produces.

  • Xenocles||

    I disagree that it is the only logical conclusion from materialism, since there are many other ways to arrive at most of conventional morality. But I do see it as the only thing that relying on naturalism gets you.

  • John||

    Xenocles,

    The question is what is in between naturalism and theism? That is a pretty hard grey area to define. What happens is you start talking about higher concepts and they start to look suspiciously like God. You can arrive at morality but you end up believing in some kind of higher law or power be it humanism or reason or karma or whatever. I am not really sure how that is not theism with a different name.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:24PM |#
    "What happens is you start talking about higher concepts and they start to look suspiciously like God."

    Bull
    .
    .
    .
    .
    shit.

  • John||

    Yeah Sevo,

    As you tell me how anyone who lives an immoral life will end up unhappy and regretting it. And there is this thing called "Reason" which dictates how we should live and against which we should measure our lives and ideas.

    Yeah, nothing theistic about that at all. Nope.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:36PM |#
    ..."As you tell me how anyone who lives an immoral life will end up unhappy and regretting it"

    John, your bushels of bullshit are one thing; they are expected. Bleevers will go to great ends to justify that fantasy.
    But don't bother trying to put words in my mouth.
    Now either address the point of STFU.

  • John||

    But don't bother trying to put words in my mouth.

    I did no such thing. You are the one who said

    No, John, they're not. Not the ones who tend to live happy and prosperous lives.

    You were saying that you know what is right because people who do right live happy and successful lives. Your words, not mine.

  • Sevo||

    "No, John, they're not. Not the ones who tend to live happy and prosperous lives."

    Which is a long, long way from:
    ."As you tell me how anyone who lives an immoral life will end up unhappy and regretting it"

    And you know it. Fuck off.

  • Irish||

    What happens is you start talking about higher concepts and they start to look suspiciously like God. You can arrive at morality but you end up believing in some kind of higher law or power be it humanism or reason or karma or whatever.

    Arguing that you come to a system of morality through reason is nothing like arguing that you come to as system of morality through God. I can look at the world and see what the most successful societies have been, I can look at the world and see what systems of morality these areas tended to have, and I can try to deduce a system of morality that results in the best outcomes and causes the betterment of humanity. There are other ways to deduce a good system of morality as well.

    That is nothing like saying 'God says these things, that is morality.'

    I'd also like to point out that there are probably many things in the Bible that you would find immoral if they were to be allowed by our society. If we allowed slavery, would you think that was moral or immoral? If you said immoral, then how did you come to that conclusion when God never said slavery was wrong and actually appears to sanction it?

  • John||

    I can look at the world and see what the most successful societies have been

    To do that you have to agree on a definition of what "success" looks like. And you also have to assume that society being a success is even a worthy goal rather than your own personal success.

    What you are doing is importing in all of these truths and pretending like they are universal when in fact they are just shit you like. You end up with a set of "universal truths" that function the same way God does for theists. You just give it a different name and pretend it is somehow better.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:38PM |#
    ..."To do that you have to agree on a definition of what "success" looks like."

    Oh, yes John. Are you going to argue for 'other ways of knowing' next? That death is preferable to life?
    How deep is that pile of bullshit?

  • John||

    Yeah Sevo, it is just so self evident what a successful civilization looks like. No one would ever disagree about that. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt apparently.

  • Xenocles||

    Most of the big civilizations from the history books - which come to mind when we reflect on success - were built on some combination of slavery and conquest.

  • Xenocles||

    If the higher power is not conscious I don't think it can be called theism. If karma is just the way the universe works it sounds more like naturalism or materialism. Karma just responds to the phenomenon we have come to call morality, just like gravity responds to the phenomenon we have come to call mass and the EM force responds to what we call charge.

    Since reason is the product of human thought, which as far as we can tell is the product of the physical brain, that seems far removed from the supernatural or divine.

  • John||

    The problem with that Xenocles is that if you are going to call Karma something natural, than it must be held to the standards of other natural things. That means it should be observable and predictable. And it is no such thing. I see nothing in the observable world that would cause me to conclude that karma exists. Sure, sometimes bad people get what is coming to them. But just as often horrible things happen to good people and that is assuming I even know what good and bad are.

    The problem is that no intelligent theism is "conscious" in the sense that we are. Only atheists who don't know any better think that theism means the old man in the sky. Whatever God is his consciousness is so different than mine that the word can't be applied to both of us.

    Yes, reason is a product of human thought. And that means we have no idea how figure out its limits. We can only experience and think what is within our capability to experience and think. We can't know what if anything is beyond that. For all we know our "reason" could be complete nonsense in the greater scheme of things that we can't perceive.

  • Sevo||

    "For all we know our "reason" could be complete nonsense in the greater scheme of things that we can't perceive."

    A classic of argument from ignorance!

  • John||

    Are you really such a simpleton that you think that man has the ability to know things outside of his ability to comprehend and perceive SEVO?

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 3:06PM |#
    "Are you really such a simpleton that you think that man has the ability to know things outside of his ability to comprehend and perceive SEVO?"

    John, that ignorance of yours needs a lot of strawmen.
    I said nothing of the sort and you know it. Are you going into asshole mode?

  • John||

    I said nothing of the sort and you know it.

    Then you are agree with me.

  • Xenocles||

    For the record, I don't accept karma as a natural phenomenon. But I also know that we don't fully understand the more conventional "scientific" ones - the gap between relativity and quantum mechanics, both of which make accurate predictions and have been used to build devices that could not work if those theories didn't - is an example. Who's to say we would understand a karmic effect any better, or that it would leave traces we could detect from within the system?

    You could say that God is the universe or something similar to that, but that does defy my understanding of mainline theism. As I understood it God was supposed to have a consciousness that we would recognize, being patterned after him and all. Not understand, but recognize.

  • John||

    No Xenocles, God makes himself recognizable but that doesn't mean God's consciousness is like ours or that we can comprehend it. It just means he can dumb himself down to our level.

    As far as karma goes, yes we know from quantum mechanics the world is not mechanistic and doesn't operate by our notions of rationality and experience. It doesn't work like a watch. And maybe karma does exist as such like that. But that doesn't strike me as being any more satisfying than theism. Why can't you make the same case for God?

  • Xenocles||

    What does it mean to be made in God's image, then?

    "But that doesn't strike me as being any more satisfying than theism. Why can't you make the same case for God?"

    You could. But as with karma, I see no evidence to lead me there.

    In a lot of ways I'd love for there to be a god from the major religions. But the universe didn't make me any promises, so I have to live with the universe we have.

  • John||

    What does it mean to be made in God's image, then?

    It means you are made in his "image" not as a copy. You are like his image in this world. It doesn't mean you are him or the same as he is. Sort of like a square is made in the image of a cube in two dimensions. The square is the image of the cube in the two dimensional world.

    But the universe didn't make me any promises, so I have to live with the universe we have.

    Of course it doesn't.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think you may be confusing natural law with the idea of 'what happens a lot in the world or in nature.' They are not the same thing, are they?

  • Xenocles||

    Aren't they? By the way, this only matters if you consider morality to be a natural force.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I understood it to refer to an ethical theory based in the idea that man has a nature and that acts which are 'perfective' of that nature are objectively good acts. I am not sure that is the same thing as 'what man usually does.'

  • Xenocles||

    At the root of that idea historically is the supposition that man naturally has a divine spark or some such influence that should inspire acts that transcend the material world. I don't know how an atheistic worldview accounts for it. At any rate, I am reluctant to call something natural that is demonstrably not in accordance with nature. Nature doesn't give a damn about us. It does not reliably intercede to correct what we would call injustice - if anything it defaults to hurting us as badly as possible.

    Human nature, such as it is, seems equally capable of causing great harm to others or exercising great mercy and justice. That doesn't tell us much about which one is objectively better to pursue. I know I have an opinion, but I can't seem to find something to endorse it outside of humanity.

  • sarcasmic||

    You make a lot of blanket statements about atheists that are just untrue.

    Perhaps I should start amusing myself by making fun of you for being an adult with an invisible friend.

    That would be fair.

    Yeah John. You and your invisible friend. Children have invisible friends. You're no different than a child who pretends to have an invisible friend, only you base your system of morality on what your invisible friend says. That's fucking insane. It really is.

    Fucking loser with an invisible friend. Fuck off.

  • John||

    And your little invented morality is just so much better. If you don't believe in God, then don't and understand what that means about the universe. Stop living in pretend land that all of your little rules and morality mean anything other than being the made up rules that you have decided to live your life by.

  • sarcasmic||

    At least my rules are based upon logic and reason, instead of being handed down by an invisible man. Fucking mental.

  • John||

    At least my rules are based upon logic and reason,

    Says you. Everyone else thinks the same thing. Yet, their rules are often totally different. Calling it "reason" is no better than calling it "God".

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:20PM |#
    "Everyone else thinks the same thing. Yet, their rules are often totally different."

    No, John, they're not. Not the ones who tend to live happy and prosperous lives.
    You're making it up now. Admit you bleeve simply because you need faith and don't bother trying to use reason for your magic.

  • John||

    No, John, they're not. Not the ones who tend to live happy and prosperous lives.

    So people who do bad things always get theirs and live unhappy lives? LOL You do realize how ridiculous and how contra factual that sounds? There is simply no reason to believe that. You personally might live an unhappy life. But there is no reason to believe others would.

    Your statement makes less sense than believing in hell. At least hell has a mechanism for achieving the claimed results.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:28PM |#
    "So people who do bad things always get theirs and live unhappy lives? LOL"

    Listen, asshole, address the argument or STFU.

  • sarcasmic||

    Admit you bleeve simply because you need faith and don't bother trying to use reason for your magic.

    I think of atheism as a lack of faith. I have also found that people who require faith cannot conceptualize a lack of it, so they phrase a lack of faith in terms of faith. They can't get it.

    They're like Tony who can't conceptualize a lack of coercion. So Tony thinks of liberty as something to be imposed upon society because he can't conceptualize liberty as a lack of imposition.

    Why do you think I call John Red Tony? They are more alike than they are different.

  • John||

    I think of atheism as a lack of faith

    It can be. But in most cases it is peopel switching their faith to other things and not calling it a God. If it were truly a lack of faith, atheists would not believe in silly things like morality or natural law.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:43PM |#
    ..."If it were truly a lack of faith, atheists would not believe in silly things like morality or natural law."...

    Yes, asshole, there is no 'nature' without some supernatural magic man.

  • John||

    there is no 'nature' without some supernatural magic man.

    No. there just isn't any morality. Nature is there. It just doesn't care whether and how you live.

  • Irish||

    Says you. Everyone else thinks the same thing. Yet, their rules are often totally different. Calling it "reason" is no better than calling it "God".

    This just isn't true. An awful lot of people don't think their rules come from reason, they think their rules come from faith. Fundamentalist Islam does not claim its rules come from reason and logic, they claim those rules come from Allah and his prophet.

  • John||

    But all of those people think their book is the highest form of reason since it came from God. Regardless, who cares where they got their rules? I see no reason why their rules are not just as good as yours, depending on how you like the two results.

  • sarcasmic||

    Looks to me like John doesn't know what reason means.

  • John||

    I know exactly what reason means sarcasmic. But unlike you, I understand that it is totally dependent on the values and the assumptions you feed into it. You guys think that your assumptions and values are great. And good for you. But that just means you like them. It doesn't mean they are any better or worse than anyone else's assumptions and values.

  • Sevo||

    sarcasmic| 8.25.13 @ 2:36PM |#
    "Looks to me like John doesn't know what reason means."

    John doesn't know what a lot of things mean, but he knows his magic man is right up there in the sky.

  • John||

    John doesn't know what a lot of things mean, but he knows his magic man is right up there in the sky.

    So says the man who tells us he knows the natural and perfect order of things.

  • sarcasmic||

    So says the man who tells us he knows the natural and perfect order of things.

    The only people who claim that are adults with invisible friends.

  • John||

    Then stop saying your morality is anything other than something you like. If it is more than that, then you are saying you know the natural and perfect order of things.

  • sarcasmic||

    Then stop saying your morality is anything other than something you like.

    You do realize you're making the exact same argument that Tony makes when faced with a principled argument for limited government?

    Because Tony's broken brain cannot comprehend the concept of liberty, he must phrase it in terms of coercion.

    You are exactly the same with regards to faith. You cannot comprehend what it is to not have any, so you must describe a lack of faith in terms of faith.

    In that respect you are exactly like him.

    That's pretty sad, but unfortunately very common.

  • John||

    Either you have access to some form of universal truth or you don't sarcasmic. If you do, then the morality you derive from it is universal and applies to everything. If you don't, then your morality is nothing but rules you follow because you like them and don't apply to me or anyone else.

    You like liberty. Big fucking deal. Why is anyone else obligated to feel the same way?

  • sarcasmic||

    My morality is based upon logic and reason. Unlike people with invisible friends, I never made the claim that it is some sort of universal truth. However there are logical arguments based upon those two principles that show that if more people followed them we'd all be a lot happier and more prosperous.
    I choose logic and reason over faith.
    Just admit it. You cannot comprehend a lack of faith and you don't understand logic and reason. It's OK John. There are lots of people like you and Tony. The world is full of them. That's why it sucks.

  • John||

    My morality is based upon logic and reason.

    And all of the people who disagree with you don't think the same thing? And they are wrong and you are right why? You are just that much smarter than they are?

    Your logic and reason is only as good as the assumptions and values you put into it. And there is nothing to say your assumptions are any better than anyone else's. If it were just about logic and reason, there would be clear cut answers to these questions. Ethics would be as settled as the movements of the planets.

  • Calidissident||

    "Either you have access to some form of universal truth or you don't sarcasmic. If you do, then the morality you derive from it is universal and applies to everything."

    If everyone had access to this universal truth, then yeah that's true. But many different people claim all sorts of universal truths, and ultimately, what ancient Near Easterners wrote down 2,000-3,000 years ago isn't proof that yours is correct.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:13PM |#
    "And your little invented morality is just so much better."

    Yes, it is, John, because it doesn't require bleef in magic.

  • John||

    Why Sevo? Because you like it? What about the people who don't? Why are they wrong? I know, because "reason" told you so. Who has the imaginary friend now?

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:21PM |#
    "Why Sevo? Because you like it?"

    No, John, because I can look at history and see which moral strictures provided the best result.
    It's called "reason"

  • John||

    ecause I can look at history and see which moral strictures provided the best result.

    No. You can look at history and see the ones that provided the results you like best. Other people can and do see those results differently. And you have no basis beyond your preferences to say they are wrong.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:30PM |#
    ..."No. You can look at history and see the ones that provided the results you like best."...

    Yes, you sophist asshole, there is no 'success'.

  • John||

    Yes, you sophist asshole, there is no 'success'.

    No. Your success doesn't have to be my success. Who are you to tell me what kind of civilization I should live in?

  • Irish||

    No. You can look at history and see the ones that provided the results you like best. Other people can and do see those results differently. And you have no basis beyond your preferences to say they are wrong.

    That's ludicrous. Are you really arguing that I can't look at successful countries and see which ones work well? Is America better off than Zimbabwe? By your logic there's no way to tell.

  • Xenocles||

    Robert Mugabe is very well off.

  • John||

    What is so hard to understand about the idea that if a system works personally for me, I am under obligation to give a flying fuck how it works for anyone else?

    Ziimbabwe is a great place, if you are the right person.

  • Irish||

    Ziimbabwe is a great place, if you are the right person.

    So if there are some people in a country that aren't destitute I can't say that that country sucks? This is the sort of relativist nonsense you'd be mocking if a liberal said it.

  • Xenocles||

    No, it's just a matter of perspective. It's always been good to be the king, so the king could argue his system worked.

    Maximizing the number of people who are well off is an assumed value.

  • John||

    So if there are some people in a country that aren't destitute I can't say that that country sucks?

    Sure you can. But if I am one of the people who is doing well, I am free to say it is great. Who are you to say I am wrong? You only think it sucks because you buy into this made up rule that a country ought to benefit the most people. That is nice. But there is no reason why someone else can reject that.

  • prolefeed||

    If you believe in certain interpretations of God, you tend to act nicely toward others. Living in Utah right now, kind of bowled over by how nice the mostly LDS residents are.

    If you've looked at the evidence and concluded that God most likely doesn't exist, then those "little rules and morality" are a set of guidelines on how to live a happy life. If you go around murdering and raping and stealing, you're likely to wind up in prison or unhappy or alone or other bad outcomes. That's why you need morals or a code of conduct.

    Unless you are a sociopath, whereupon morality doesn't really compute, just finding ways to amuse yourself that don't involve the connections to others that you don't desire.

  • John||

    There are lots of reasons not to murder someone beyond morality. A lot of people don't like doing it. And of course it tends to get you in trouble with other people. But whatever the reasons not to murder, without God, some universal morality is not one of them. Without God the reason always boil down to "it is best for me not to do it".

  • prolefeed||

    And with God the reason still boils down to "it is best for me not to do it", since going to hell is a bad outcome.

    The point being, some ways of living tend to turn out badly, others promote prosperity and happiness. And non-aggression and freedom tend to work best, even if certain individuals might slip through the cracks and do better acting the opposite way.

    I think believing in a God is delusional, but it does seem to mostly result in good outcomes here in Utah, despite the nannystate stuff that goes with those religious beliefs combined with voting. So if being delusional works for you, have at it.

  • John||

    I think believing in a God is delusional,

    Maybe so. But if so, believing in anything beyond a personal morality is just as delusional. And American atheists in particular are wildly delusional. A good number of them think that there is some universal moral code of truth and justice. No. There are things that work for you and that you like. But nothing says they mean anything beyond that.

  • Sevo||

    John| 8.25.13 @ 2:53PM |#
    ..."But if so, believing in anything beyond a personal morality is just as delusional."

    No. John, your stupidity is yours alone.

  • John||

    yeah SEVO. Truth and reason have shown you the way to justice!!! You just know what the world should look like and are here to tell us all about it.

    But you reject all that faith stuff.

  • Finrod||

    Fucking loser with an invisible friend. Fuck off.

    And atheists wonder why people hate them.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    invisible friends don't drink half yer beer.

  • John||

    It is not that they are atheists. It is that they pretend there are no implications of that. They are more faith based than any theist.

  • Xenocles||

    It's because a very large contingent of internet atheists have a switch in their brains that turns them into insufferable know-it-all douchebags whenever the topic turns to religion. Very common in the young twenties.

    Not much different from internet anythings, but perhaps they provide a more significant sample of most people's experience with atheists.

  • Dave C||

    I don't think Sevo or sarcasmic are in their early twenties.

  • Xenocles||

    I just say that because that's where I was when I was hanging out at the Raving Atheist board enjoying the conversation - and I observed the same effect. Of course you could be right about their ages; I don't know any of them.

  • John||

    Xenocles,

    What always amazes me about atheists is what self righteous puritans they are. The abyss isn't all bad. There is a certain freedom that comes with a cold, meaningless universe. But they never seem to embrace that. All of them have some rock solid prudish morality that they are just so sure is the truth and they are just so wonderful they figured it out on their own without no sky daddy telling them.

    If it wasn't so sad it would be funny. It is like all of the rules and obligation of a religion with none of the meaning.

  • Irish||

    What always amazes me about atheists is what self righteous puritans they are. The abyss isn't all bad. There is a certain freedom that comes with a cold, meaningless universe.

    Oh, come off it, John. Sevo's been a dick and if you want to shit on him that's fine. That's not what you're doing though. You're being just as much of a smug asshole as he is.

    I don't believe in a cold, meaningless universe and if anyone is a smug, condescending jackass in this scenario it's you.

    You believe you need a God in order to give the universe meaning, I don't. Both those beliefs could coexist peacefully if people weren't smug jerks about it. We agree on that point, but you're just as much of a condescending little shit on this issue as Sevo is.

    All of them have some rock solid prudish morality that they are just so sure is the truth and they are just so wonderful they figured it out on their own without no sky daddy telling them.

    I love this part of your argument too. You don't seem to know what prudish means and you're just as sure that what you believe is true as any atheist, yet somehow they're condescending and smug and you aren't.

  • John||

    It is the smugness. The idea that these issues are just so easy and obvious and anyone who comes to a different conclusion than theirs much be some kind of half wit.

  • SIV||

    They are more faith based than any theist.

    The One True Faith. I hear they have really small stamp collections too...as a hobby.

  • ||

    And atheists wonder why people hate them.

    So what you're saying is, "people" hate atheists because they make hasty generalizations about atheists based on what a handful of outspoken people write on the internet?

    It's almost like what some people do with libertarians.

  • SugarFree||

    Blog post and comment thread of the year nominee over at the Popehat

    Incoherent gibberish. I see why it appeals to you.

  • John||

    As opposed to what SEVO and you are selling. You people don't even understand the rational implications of your own beliefs.

  • SugarFree||

    Sure, John. Sure.

  • John||

    That is a hell of an argument. Just keep pretending your little made up rules are so important. You are not living in denial or anything. Your rules are the truth. Just because there are billions of people who don't agree with you just means you are smarter than they are. There are rules and God damn it you know them!!

  • Ice Nine||

    bmp1701| 8.25.13 @ 12:04PM
    Why is death by gas attack the great taboo that necessitates military intervention?

    Very simple: Auschwitz Guilt.

  • John||

    No. It is fear that gas will be used on them once you start seeing gas as just another form of warfare. Europe doesn't give a shit about the Holocaust other than as something else to hate the Jews for.

  • Irish||

    Europe doesn't give a shit about the Holocaust other than as something else to hate the Jews for.

    That's a pretty bold claim, John. Do you really think the average European blames the Holocaust on the Jews? There is still quite a bit of antisemitism in Europe, but there's no way in hell the average European

    A) Doesn't care about the Holocaust; or

    B) Blames it on Jewish people.

  • John||

    In a sense they do Irish. They blame the Jews for still being around as a reminder of what they did. It is not that they think the Jews are responsible. It is that the Jews, by their continued existence mean Europe can never forget what it did. And that causes them to hate the Jews even more.

  • Irish||

    It is that the Jews, by their continued existence mean Europe can never forget what it did. And that causes them to hate the Jews even more.

    You keep using the term 'Europe.' Europe did not cause the Holocaust, Germany did. Europeans have vastly different cultures so I don't think you can argue that Europeans overall blame the Holocaust on Jews. I think people in the asshole countries of Europe, like the hyper-antisemitic country of Hungary, might be Holocaust deniers or blame the whole thing on Jews, but the more civilized parts of Europe certainly don't.

    I'm no fan of the governments of Europe or the people that put those governments in place, but saying they blame Jews for continuing to exist is a really intense claim to make about the 700 million people living in Europe.

  • John||

    No. Europe caused the holocaust. It wasn't just Germany. Every county in Europe sans the Netherlands and Italy, happily assisted the Nazis in sending their Jews to their deaths and then told the Jews to not come back when the war was over. The Holocaust was about a lot more than Germany.

  • Irish||

    Except for all of those people who resisted the Nazis, tried to hide Jews, and fought every day behind Nazi lines in a desperate attempt to undermine the Third Reich.

    Your collectivizing of 'Europeans' and your assumption that the actions of European governments is the same as the actions of European people is offensive to the people who gave their lives to fight Nazism.

    Our government denied a ship of Jews asylum and sent them back to Europe where a quarter of them exterminated. Should all Americans be tarred as antisemites and murderers because our government at the time was run by scum?

  • John||

    Except for all of those people who resisted the Nazis, tried to hide Jews,

    Who are so famous because they were such the exception. Most people did none of that and were happy to see the Jews leave. This is why Europe feels so much guilt.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Denmark actively resisted the Holocaust also.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Sorry, I got to support John on this one. Antisemitism has been a layer in the geological strata that is European culture for 2,000 years. Until the 20th century, a common synonym for Europe was "Christendom," that is very essence was defined as exclusive of other faiths. The largest religious minority in European history had been the Jews. Jews were defined as "alien" by the very definition of European-ness that had been established.

    Now that doesn't mean that all European countries were hostile to Judaism at all times. The reason so many Jews lived in what is now Poland and Lithuania was that the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth was officially friendly to Jewish settlement. However, as we have seen in recent history, because of the definition of European-ness as Christian, the seeds of Polish antisemitism that had lain dormant for so long were able to sprout under the right conditions.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Indeed, it was this European exclusivity that the early Americans sought to distance themselves from. Take George Washington's Letter to the Jews of Newport, for example.

    The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

    It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

    It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

    May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

    At the time of his letter, such sentiments of religious liberty and its relation to citizenship were unique.

  • Irish||

    We aren't arguing about European history of antisemitism, which is well documented and irrefutable. We're specifically arguing about European acquiescence to the murder of Jews in the 1940s during the Third Reich.

    This started because John claimed 'Europe doesn't give a shit about the Holocaust' and that Europe blames the Jews for the Holocaust. We've drifted pretty far afield from the really broad and unsupportable claim that John made in his first post and which kicked off this argument.

    Do you think modern Europeans don't care about the Holocaust and blame Jews for their own destruction? Outside of backwaters like Hungary, I don't know how anyone can make such a broad, collective statement about 700 million people.

    Obviously George Washington's statements in the 1700s have nothing to do with the question of collective European feelings in 2013.

  • Irish||

    Why is death by gas attack the great taboo that necessitates military intervention?

    Very simple: Auschwitz Guilt.

    That's a pretty ridiculous claim. Use of gas was outlawed in warfare during the 1920's because people were so horrified by what they saw in the trenches during WWI. Look at Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen.

    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)
    To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.(15)

    It is considered a great taboo because people saw it as being something cruel and unusual, even by war standards. It has nothing to do with the Holocaust.

  • Ice Nine||

    The question was why it necessitates military intervention. The abiding question about gas in WWI is not why didn't we intervene militarily to punish the use of gas on soldiers back there in 1917 while we were intervening militarily. The abiding question is why didn't we intervene militarily to prevent the gassing of Jews in 1942. It is of course some of both - more mine. And your claim that such an idea is pretty ridiculous is, well, pretty ridiculous.

  • John||

    It necessitates military intervention because you want the world to know that using gas will turn the entire world against you and ensure your doom. It keeps gas from becoming just another military weapon.

  • Irish||

    How could anyone possibly enforce the 1925 Geneva protocols about gas attacks without the use of military intervention? Any law carries with it the assumption that someone will have to enforce that law. If you break a law in the U.S. and persist in breaking it, eventually men with guns will show up to your house and force you to comply. By the same token, there's no way to enforce the 1925 rules on gas usage without military force.

    The assumption that gas is horrible and should therefore necessitate military force to stop the evil person using gas is a pre-Holocaust idea. It doesn't come from after the Holocaust and can therefore not be argued to be the result of Holocaust guilt.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    The 1925 Geneva Protocol also technically bans white phosphorus use. Hasn't stopped the U.S. or Israel.

  • Xenocles||

    Is that as an antipersonnel weapon or as an illumination source? I have not looked up the text but my recollection was that you could use it for non-weapons purposes and that if you were under immediate threat you could use it as a weapon if that's all you had at hand - as an improvised weapon, so to speak, like if you were loaded with a WP round for lawful purposes and saw a guy charging you, you could shoot him with it.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    Anti-personal device, it's acceptable to use it for things like smoke screens and light sources. For immediate use I'd have to actually do some research to confirm but I think you're right.

  • Tejicano||

    White phosphorus rounds - generally mortar or artillery - are used as incindiary rounds. They are not specifically designed for use as anti-personnel rounds but to burn off brush and buildings where the enemy might hide to attack from.

    They are not nearly as effective as a High Explosive (HE) round so the military is not as likely to use them directly against enemy troops in place of HE rounds.

    I sent plenty of WP rounds downrange from 81mm mortars and knowing how nasty a wound from one is gave me the creeps just handling them.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    That generation of writers had a profound impact on me - Owen, T.S. Eliot, Nathaniel West (Shrike), Hemingway and others.

  • OldMexican||

    But a senior U.S. official called it too little, too late.


    What is this supposed to mean? The Syrian government is granting access to a purportedly objective group of observers from what is supposed to be an internationally well-regarded institution to determine if a gas attack was indeed perpetrated, just a week or so after the latest of allegations that poison gas was used against the Syrian civilian population. So why would a "senior U.S. official" say this show of good will is "too little, too late?" It almost sounds like the U.S. government is looking for a pretext to spend some tax-payer money on breaking someone else's things.

  • Jerry on the boat||

    A week is pretty fast in the world of diplomacy, but also enough time I guess for them to hide any incriminating evidence.

  • DJF||

    How can the Syrian government hid evidence when the territory is under rebel control?

    From what I have read there was no major Syrian Army advance connected with the claimed WMD attack so the rebels should control the same area.

  • Jerry on the boat||

    So for Assad it's not hard to play along. He can always claim the rebels fabricated whatever evidence the UN finds since it's a rebel controlled area. And letting the inspectors in shows his willingness to play according to "international rules."

  • DJF||

    They have to find a reason to get rid of sequestration and another war seems like the trick. After all there is actually talk of cutting the number of generals so a war is a small price to pay for getting rid of that crazy talk.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    Translation: Certain people in the administration already have their War Boners (shit, I mean Intervention Boners) at half-mast. It'd be wrong to kill a perfectly good War Boner.

  • OldMexican||

    Pretty much!

    (:-(|)

  • Sevo||

    Gee, why can we have decent news organizations in the US?:
    "German magazine: NSA spied on United Nations"
    " The German magazine Der Spiegel says the U.S. National Security Agency secretly monitored the U.N.'s internal video conferencing system by decrypting it last year."
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/wor.....759432.php

  • LilDebbie||

    I hope this act of belligerence on the part of the United States escalates into a full nuclear exchange with Russia because what difference at this point does it make?

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    I hope not, assuming the Russians have not altered their Cold War hit list that would totally annihilate Southern California.

  • Long Range Boredom||

  • Ted S.||

  • R C Dean||

    Al Mekdad said logistics need to be worked out,

    In other words, no actual access will be provided. Darn those logistics!

  • DJF||

    “”””Al Mekdad said logistics need to be worked out, since arriving at the site will require crossing into rebel-controlled territory.”””

    No, it says that there will have to be an agreement with the rebels. Since the rebels and the government hate each other and since there is no actual central command for the rebels I am betting it will be difficult to get an agreement.

  • R C Dean||

    Well, yes and no. The reason it will be difficult to reach such an agreement is that the government earnestly doesn't want to reach such an agreement.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    No F1 Race in New Jersey next year? Colour me shocked.
    They'll go to Mexico City instead.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    NSA officers have used their authorities to spy on love interests

    WASHINGTON—National Security Agency officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests, U.S. officials said.

    The practice isn’t frequent — one official estimated a handful of cases in the last decade — but it’s common enough to garner its own spycraft label: LOVEINT.

    I'm sure these are totally isolated incidents. Still, must be easy to pick up chicks at the bar when you're an NSA officer.

    "Hey, are those spacepants you're wearing? Because your ass is out of this world. Also, it really compliments the thong you bought at Victoria's Secret online last Wednesday night at 8:45."

  • Jerry on the boat||

    The rest of the work day they are trying to figure which stocks to pick.

  • R C Dean||

    Pish. The rest of the work day is spent entering back-dated orders for hot stocks via their backdoor into the exchanges.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "But a senior U.S. official called it too little, too late."

    I've already seen this movie. Sounds like they've already decided to go.

    Meanwhile, a lot of people who are criticizing the Obama Administration for arming the bad guys are kinda missing the point. If they've already decided to go, then arming the bad guys is the alternative to sending in American troops, and I'd much rather be involved in another Nicaragua than another Iraq...

    Actually, if they just limit it to missile strikes and bombing, then it shouldn't be too bad, but we should be really glad that Obama isn't running for reelection. 'cause, otherwise, his political risk would be in appearing too weak or giving a weak response. ...and all Obama really cares about is the political repercussions.

    He's more worried about how what he's doing will effect the congressional midterms than he is about whether what he's doing is in America's best interests.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) both called for a military response to the possible chemical attack."

    Incidentally, the idea that any use of WMD anywhere in the world somehow necessitates a military response from the United States is the root of all sorts of stupidity.

    Nothing absolutely necessitates a military response from the United States. The United States should only use its military when it's in the best interests of the United States to do so. That seems like it should be common sense, but average people not understanding that is one of the reasons we ended up in Iraq.

    If it isn't in the U.S.' best interests to respond militarily to a chemical weapons attack, then we shouldn't respond. The idea that we have to respond to a chemical weapons attack--even if it isn't in our best interests to do so--is such a stupid argument, it should probably be considered a red flag...

    The only reason an administration usually makes that argument is when they want to go to war over the American people's objections.

  • R C Dean||

    every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

    Cue flash-bangs, door-breaching charges, shouts of "STOP RESISTING", and the whimper of dogs bleeding out next to their handcuffed owners.

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Poll: 1 in 4 Americans would support civil disobedience against organizations that make global warming worse

    Henry David Thoreau would be so proud. It appears that one in four Americans would now support peaceful civil disobedience against organizations that are making global warming worse, according to the latest survey report by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

    But that’s not all. One in eight would even be willing to take part personally in civil disobedience. The survey also found that people are most likely to discuss global warming face-to-face, rather than via social media, for instance, and are most likely to be spurred into action by friends or family.

    Among some other findings:

    45 percent would sign a petition about global warming.
    36 percent would attend a public meeting or presentation about global warming.
    35 percent would attend a neighborhood meeting to discuss global warming actions people can take.
    32 percent would pledge to vote for political candidates that share their views on global warming.

    People are all talk.

  • Irish||

    But that’s not all. One in eight would even be willing to take part personally in civil disobedience.

    How can you be involved in civil disobedience against a non-governmental entity?

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    You can, you chain yourself to private property and refuse to leave when the cops show up.

  • Nazdrakke||

    That's not civil disobedience it's aggression.

  • Ken Shultz||

    By that definition, what the original Boston Tea Party did was worse than aggression. They didn't just chain themselves to private property--they threw private property into the harbor.

    If they didn't want their tea thrown in the harbor, then they shouldn't have accepted bailout money from the government that the colonists were being taxed to pay for.

    I wish more Americans today would act like the Boston Tea Party did back then. And you can call me whatever you want for that, but I call myself "libertarian".

  • Nazdrakke||

    Fuck dude, I'm not the libertarian purity police, go for it.

    The point you bring up changes the dynamic somewhat; that is what is it then when the private entity is in bed with the government? I'd say that when you start taking coerced money from the government you stop being a totally private actor and civil disobedience comes back into play.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm looking from a completely different angle.

    I'll stick up for the rights of OWS people to protest--even though I despise them--because their right to protest is my right to protest.

    Someday, maybe me and my fellow libertarians will mount a similar strategy to try to make a difference, and anything we do to undermine the legitimacy of protests themselves in the minds of average Americans necessarily undermines the legitimacy of me being able to do the same thing.

    My problem with OWS and Greenpeace, whomever else, isn't with the tactics they use, necessarily. It's with some of their goals. But I can thoroughly criticize their goals without saying anything whatsoever about their tactics.

    Hell, I think we should learn from some of their tactics. They manipulate the media like they're playing a piano--and we libertarians can hardly get a word in edgewise. We could learn a lot from them about how to get our message across.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Hell, I think we should learn from some of their tactics. They manipulate the media like they're playing a piano--and we libertarians can hardly get a word in edgewise. We could learn a lot from them about how to get our message across.

    WTF? OWS didn't even have a message to get across. The media painted them favorably because they were pro-govt and seen as a counter to the Tea Party, not because of any skillful manipulation on the part of OWS.

    The only thing we can learn from them is that it helps to support the establishment and big government.

    You want some tips on how to push a movement which the media and govt hate, look at the Tea Party.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "OWS didn't even have a message to get across."

    You're right. Libertarian don't have that problem.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Sir John Harrington said it best:

    Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
    Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

    I'm not willing to sacrifice coherence of philosophy for a treasured bit of our national history.

    The BTP was vandalism, and the rationale for the American Revolution was specious at best. There, I said it.

    Of course, the effects of the BTP and the Revolution turned out damn good. Doesn't justify it, though.

  • Redmanfms||

    By that definition, what the original Boston Tea Party did was worse than aggression. They didn't just chain themselves to private property--they threw private property into the harbor.

    Which is precisely why the Founders distanced themselves from the perpetrators of the BTP.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Which is precisely why the Founders distanced themselves from the perpetrators of the BTP."

    Yeah, and the overreaction from the British that the Boston Tea Party provoked is an important part of the reason why we had an American Revolution.

    Didn't what the Loyal Nine/Sons of Liberty do contribute significantly to making the American Revolution possible?

    It's the people who are willing to do things like protest that initiate change. I'd love to see a thoroughly libertarian world come about by way of the ballot box, but failing that (and that strategy is failing), we may need to engage in protest at some point.

    Seriously.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "1 in 4 Americans would support civil disobedience against organizations that make global warming worse."

    That's only 25% and taking polls is cheap.

    Less than 1% of Americans would actually bother protesting anything if it inconvenienced them in any way.

    I'm much more concerned about the other side of that equation. What percentage of Americans are willing to engage in civil disobedience over tax hikes, overspending, ObamaCare, TARP, and the NSA violating their 4th Amendment rights?

    The correct answer is not enough.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    ipeaceful civil disobedience against organizations that are making global warming worse

    What the fuck does that even mean?

  • John||

    Sit ins at gas stations. That will make the Green movement really popular. Lets have dirty hippies chain themselves to gas pumps.

  • Entropy Void||

    Thank you.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    No F1 Race in New Jersey next year?

    Hindery flim-flammed the rubes? Who could possibly have seen through his hall-of-mirrors bullshit?

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    so the booing in Spa today was because everyone hates a Vettel 44 victory lap parade.
    The Greenpeace unfurled a banner from the grandstands protesting Shell's Arctic drilling.

  • John||

    I wonder if motor sports is hitting its limit. You either have one team be a bit faster and dominate or you have NASCAR where the cars are so even everyone just follows each other around unable to pass.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Greenpeace have said that two remote-controlled banners were unrolled on the floor of the winner's podium before the presentation of the winner's trophy. In a statement, Greenpeace added that the banners were secretly installed several weeks ago.

    That may explain why there was booing during the podium ceremony.

  • John||

    Why is F1 wasting its time in America? And aren't they going to some green echo wagon next year with very limited horsepower?

  • Hyperion||

    NSA? What NSA? Look over there, red lines were crossed! We got to get in another war, for the children! Now understand, we're going to have to give more money and power to that NSA and you're going to have to bend over and take any violations of your rights, because, these here aren't normal times, WE'RE AT WAR! Just as soon as this war is over, you can have your silly rights back.

  • John||

    Gotta wag the dog. I am not sure getting into a war is going to help matters though.

  • Hyperion||

    Yeah, but we can distract the sheeple while getting a bunch more of our own killed, and create another 'Arab Spring'.

  • Hyperion||

    Besides, what else do they have at this point, John? They're desperate. They need the status quo, they can't have the sheeple getting more power and them less.

  • John||

    They are getting desperate. They way they have gone full on lie over the NSA thing is surprising even for them.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The Greenpeace unfurled a banner from the grandstands protesting Shell's Arctic drilling.

    Who can withstand a protest banner onslaught?

  • Hyperion||

    I like this new anan-bot.

  • Hyperion||

    anon...

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    and on...

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    Strangers waiting. Up and down the boulevard.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Lookin' for love in all the wrong places.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Conspiracy of the day:

    The CIA had some poison gas WMD at the Benghazi compound that they were going to send to the Syrian rebels to create a cassus belli for American intervention, and the weapons were captured in the attack there.

    That's why Obama and everyone else freaked the fuck out. They were worried about the plan being exposed and about al Qeada using the weapons in a terror attack.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I don't what it says about me that the same thought had crossed my mind.

  • OldMexican||

    OT: It's Official - The New York Times Has Indeed A Liberal Bias.

    http://youtu.be/rf1Z018QS-Y

  • Ken Shultz||

    I still don't believe it.

  • Generic Stranger||

    It's a modified yes with lots of nuance

    "We can't spin it any other way any more, but we still don't want to come right out and just say we were full of shit when we said we were objective."

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The New York Times Has Indeed A Liberal Bias.

    INCONCEIVABLE

  • Irish||

    Shockingly Obama's plan to make college more affordable will actually raise the price.

    Pretty good article considering it comes from Breitbart. I would have changed the following paragraph to this though:

    Over the past thirty years tuition has risen by over 250%, despite because of Washington continually putting forth new government aid programs and subsides with the attempt to cut tuition costs. The more money Washington puts into the hands of students only enables the colleges and universities to continue propping up the price of education.
  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Still got it.

    Dennis Miller Show ‏@DennisDMZ 35s
    Tiger's back is in worse shape than a Public Sector Union Worker looking to get out at age 50 with 85% take home pay every week until death.
  • Xenocles||

    Yeah, still got jokes that are too wordy and forced.

  • Agammamon||

    Looking at the list of current 'Essential Air Service' airports - the one's that wouldn't exist unless your tax dollars were extorted to pay for them.

    http://www.dot.gov/policy/avia.....mmunities#

    And I see El Centro, CA on the list. The El Centro that is, literally, an hours drive away from the Yuma airport (which isn't subsidized, at least by this program).

    So not only are *you* paying for an airport in El Centro (even if you live on the other side of the country and would have no reason whatsoever to ever travel to this town) its stealing business from *our* airport.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    I think that's just a list of eligible communities, not necessarily ones that are receiving current funding, although they probably are.

    If you like EAS, be sure to check out the Small Community Air Service Development Program that gives out plane money with less strings.

  • Spoonman.||

    They wouldn't have carriers listed in that case.

    I cannot believe anything flies to Oil City, PA.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That's Marcellus Shale country.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Advertising that chemical weapons would guaranty an American intervention made chemical weapons use an inevitability (which is probably exactly why the "red line" statement was made to begin with).

    The Syrian government is the last entity that wants to bring the U.S. into the conflict. On the other hand, there will be multiple beneficiaries of U.S. involvement. The entire situation reeks of deception and manipulation with the U.S. mainstream press timidly refraining from exhibiting even a bare minimum of skepticism (as usual).

  • John||

    Either that or Assad thinks Obama is bluffing. It is not like Obama has a lot of credibility.

  • Dave Krueger||

    The fact is that, at this point, we don't even know who used chemical weapons. We just know that, when we want to use up a lot of bombs, claims that someone is using WMDs is a time-tested excuse (and the claims don't even have to be true).

    Oh, by the way, I recommend buying weapons industry stocks.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Oooooh! That's a bingo! Is that how you say it?

  • John||

    It could be a false flag. But that doesn't require a big conspiracy. It just requires the opposition to be smart.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Beneficiaries like Lockheed? or maybe Halliburton, or even Martin Marrieta

  • Dave Krueger||

    Yes. Them. And Israel would benefit if the government of Syria ultimately turn out to be friendly to America (someone who will cooperate with the U.S. in exchange for cash).

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Like Egypt?

  • Dave Krueger||

    Exactly. And Egypt is the perfect example of how it ultimately always does more harm than good, because people don't like outside interference in their politics (who would have thought?). Another such example is Iran under the Shah.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The entire situation reeks of deception and manipulation with the U.S. mainstream press timidly refraining from exhibiting even a bare minimum of skepticism (as usual)."

    Yeah, we've seen this movie before.

    Any time, now, someone will show up with some photographs of mobile chemical weapons labs, or something. Something will come out about Assad looking for yellowcake in Niger Tanzania or somewhere.

    And the Republicans won't offer any more resistance to Obama than the Democrats offered to Bush. And the press will remain complicit, too. Just so long as they're getting access to the president, what do they care?

  • John||

    Except that unlike Iraq, going into Syria might get us into a war with the Russians. You know there are Russians troops in Syria.

  • Dave Krueger||

    But having a showdown with the Russians is a great way for the President to get into the history books as a hero. As it stands now, history probably isn't going to treat him well. Actually, the best way to leave a great legacy is to get lots and lots of Americans killed. A confrontation with Russia would be just the thing.

  • ||

    Plus he can emancipate the Russian gays.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Excellent! You would be a great Presidential adviser! ;-)

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    As it stands now, history probably isn't going to treat him well.

    Hahahahahaha.

    The other guy who prolonged a depression, used the FBI to spy on opponents, and usurped power for the executive is consistently ranked in the top 3.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Why are we still fighting the Cold War? Other than to satiate the aspirations of the damn neocons. Iran/Iraq, Syria/Israel, Afghanistan/Pakistan.

    While we're at it, let's just kickstart the Korean Peninsula.

  • John||

    Because Clinton and now Obama are both morons who have needless made the Russians enemies.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I'd settle for realpolitik at this point

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The Bush administration was just as bad, if not worse. They pushed NATO expansion, and Cheney and the neocons wanted to put us in a very confrontational position with Russia over Georgia.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Clinton and Obama? You seem to have missed someone.

    But I think it was inevitable that Russia would become an adversary once they got back on their feet again. Putin's been looking for excuses for confrontation for a long time.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Except that unlike Iraq, going into Syria might get us into a war with the Russians. You know there are Russians troops in Syria."

    It's another reason why a proxy war is actually better than direct intervention.

    We don't have to take on Hezbollah (scary)--directly--either, so long as we're just fighting a proxy war.

    I actually supported aiding the rebels--because I thought it was in our best interests to do so. ...but acting directly ourselves in Syria was not, is not, and won't be in our best interests--unless this becomes a war of self-defense.

    I'm starting to wonder what kind of advice Obama is getting from the military brass. The Powell Doctrine was all about how to stay out of conflicts, but nowadays, I'm starting to wonder if there's a conflict the top brass doesn't think we should get into.

    From a military brass standpoint, what's not to like about any given military adventure? They get bigger budgets that way, and is there anything not to like from their standpoint about bigger budgets?

    Makes me want to start singing Dylan's "Masters of War".

    Who's telling Obama this is a good idea? Again, the idea that we must, must, must go to war with anyone who uses WMD--even when it's not in our best interests to do so--is patently stupid. Obama is perfectly capable of profound stupidity, no doubt, but ignoring the military when they say it's a bad idea? I think that's a stretch even for him.

    Somebody's gotta be telling Obama this is smart.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Yep. You nailed it.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Stimulus!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Somebody fire the interns, they're not killing the squirrels fast enough

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Mr. Obama wants to help more students discharge their debts by capping their monthly payments at 10% of their discretionary income and forgiving their outstanding balances after 20 years. Grads who take jobs in government or at nonprofits already can discharge their debt after a decade.

    "Somehow working for the private sector is bad and working for the public sector is good? I don't see on what basis one would make that conclusion," Mr. Veder says. "If I had to make some judgment, I would do just the opposite."

    He adds that the president's approach "creates a moral hazard problem. What it signals to current and future loan borrowers is that I don't have to take these repayment of loans very seriously. . . . I don't have to worry too much about getting a high-paying job." It encourages "sociology and anthropology majors compared with math and engineering majors."

    It's almost as if the guy doesn't have a fucking clue how things work.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Didn't the feds make a bunch of money off student loans?

    -The federal government already is due to book a record $51 billion profit this year off new and existing federal student loans, bringing the government’s profit haul to nearly $120 billion over the past five years, according to CBO and Department of Education estimates.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....19833.html

  • Irish||

    Yeah they have. And the more they squeeze students and the higher tuition costs go, the more the feds make in payments.

    It's almost like there's some sort of conflict of interest when you allow the Federal Government to run a loan program.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Profit computed how? There's no fucking way they make a profit off loans that get discharged or defaulted on, which is a ton of them. That's extremely suspect.

    But the article does include some unintentional comedy from Limousine Lizzie/Fauxcahontas:

    In recent days, some lawmakers including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had warned against deals that would lead to an increase in the government's profit. Profiting off student borrowers is "morally wrong" and "obscene," Warren said Wednesday during a conference for young people. At the same event, Warren encouraged the audience to boo the government for "making profits off the backs of our students." The audience happily complied.

    Slap a penis on her and she'd be right at home in a medieval papal throne.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Wait, what?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You should really know your religion's papal bulls a little better.

    The nature of the sin called usury has its proper place and origin in a loan contract. This financial contract between consenting parties demands, by its very nature, that one return to another only as much as he has received. The sin rests on the fact that sometimes the creditor desires more than he has given. Therefore he contends some gain is owed him beyond that which he loaned, but any gain which exceeds the amount he gave is illicit and usurious.
  • VG Zaytsev||

    What's really morally wrong and obscene about the situation is that retards like Lizzie Warren make mid 6 figure incomes for the crappy indoctrination they provide.

  • ||

    Well, you have to give her some credit for honesty. She is brave/stupid enough to brazenly admit what she is, more than can be said for most 'liberals'.

    I would not be one bit surprised to see the dems try to run her instead of the Hildebeast.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Actually, I am not sure why the government should profit from it either.

    I can see why it should not be involved in the first place, but if it is why should it profit off the people it ostensibly is helping?

  • ||

    If there is profit to be made then the private sector would be handling it. I am extremely skeptical when some sector of the market is taken over by government and then government claims to be profiting.

    By extremely skeptical, I mean I think it is bullshit.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If I recall rightly the private sector was very upset about the federal government setting up its loan program because it undercut business from that area that was making a profit.

  • ||

    I am not very familiar with this subject. If that is the case then I can see why they would be upset. What I dont understand is why the government would get in on the business if the private sector was taking care of it and making profit.

    The only justification I have ever heard is so that government can make loans available to people that the private sector was unwilling to loan to; i.e. the non-profit making part of the market.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    From what I understand the private sector offered student loans and the government backed them. So the banks took all the profit and none of the risk.

    The Clinton administration changed that by having the government do the loaning itself. I think I actually think that is better than the previous arrangement.

    I think part of the reason was that since the government was not looking to profit they could aim to break even and student borrowers would get better terms.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The Clinton administration changed that by having the government do the loaning itself.

    Those were Direct Loans, which were not all student loans. There were still Stafford loans, which are made by private lenders and guaranteed by fedgov, up until BO needed to find something "profitable" to shoehorn into the BO-Care bill, to monkey with the cost estimate.

    Oddly, I don't remember Fauxcahontas crying foul back then.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    They were profiting from it because fedgov was guaranteeing the loan.

    Now that fedgov is the lender, who guarantees the loan for it?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Ha, well, we do I assume.

    But it appears as if it makes money, so that is not much of an issue.

    I am not really surprised that it does. People that get college degrees tend to do better than average and I bet most pay off their loans actually. It is not a 'bad bet' generally.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    People that get college degrees tend to do better than average and I bet most pay off their loans actually.

    You're assuming that all those taking out loans graduate and earn a degree. Many don't. An average graduation rate after 5 years is something like 55%, so a great many people with student loan debt didn't earn a degree.

  • ||

    "Now that fedgov is the lender, who guarantees the loan for it?"

    You do.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    They were profiting from it because fedgov was guaranteeing the loan.

    And the fact that it was a special class of debt that can not be discharged in bankruptcy.

    The two combined, created a credit bubble that inflated college tuition.

    The net effect was to make every student worse off, to benefit the educational establishment.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Well, nondischargeability didn't matter for profits, since fedgov paid the lender once the borrower defaults. That rule was intended to benefit the feds.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Oops, I meant "forgiven" not "discharged" as student loans can't be discharged in bkrpcy

  • ant1sthenes||

    When the government literally gives someone the money needed to better their life, and then expects to be paid back with interest, that's obscene. When the government builds a bunch of infrastructure that may or may not be of use to businesses, and then uses the existence of that infrastructure to levy vast taxes on those businesses, that's social justice.

  • ant1sthenes||

    About the most useful thing the Feds could do is put universities on the hook for loans (essentially, loan to schools so they could give a scholarship to students), but give them the authority to repossess revoke a degree for non-payment. That's the downside of credentialism, after all -- a credential is easier to lose than knowledge and experience.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Another indycar clown show, made even more special by the fucking retards in the booth bitching about Dixon getting penalized for mowing down Power's right rear guy in the pits.

  • Almanian!||

    It has become a sad, horrible spectacle most of the time. They get better, then revert to retard.

    If AJ Foyt had emotions, he'd be crying.

  • JeremyR||

    If it were simply one side in this conflict committing massacres, then I think intervening might not be bad.

    But the rebels are arguably worse than the Syrian government. Seemingly these things never make the headlines, but recently the Kurds in Iraq have been threatening to attack the rebels because they have been massacring Kurds in Syria, and driving them into Iraqi Kurdistan.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It isn't about their human rights record. It's about what's in our best security interests.

    There are great arguments to make that it's actually only in our best interest to promote human rights, etc. and associating ourselves with those who don't respect human rights is not in our best interests--that's one cornerstone of what most people think of as a "neocon" foreign policy...

    However, there are other questions to take into consideration: a) How much of a long term threat do Iran's nuclear program and long range missile program present to the security of the United States? b) What's the best way to meet those threats if they're really serious?

    If the answer to those questions is a) Iran really is a long term security threat and b) the best way to meet that threat is to bring the Arab Spring to the Persian doorstep--and seeing Assad fall is the best way to make that happen? Then it's entirely possible that funding bad guys could be more in our best interests than refusing to associate ourselves with people who have a poor human rights record.

    America's best interests should always be served--and certainly shouldn't be subservient to the best interests of the Syrian people. And if it's in America's best interests to fund bad guys in Syria, then I feel really sorry for the Syrian people, but...

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Your Arab spring is turning into a summer of chaos, Ken.

    Have you been paying any attention to events in Egypt or Libya or Mali? Last time we brought chaos to Iran's borders didn't work out so well, did it?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    And while I'm perfectly content not to intervene to stop oppression that doesn't affect us, providing support to that oppression is another matter entirely. Especially when the "danger" we're facing is nebulous and speculative as what you're talking about.

    The people we are helping to torture, kill, kidnap, disappear, etc have just as much right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as you, me, or anyone in the US. If it's clear and obvious that it's a matter of us or them getting killed that's one thing -- but the Iran situation is not even in the neighborhood of that at this point.

  • Almanian!||

    Sure, let's have the UN Inspectors go in.

    SO THEY CAN LET ME DOWN ONE MORE TIME!

    /Cleveland Browns/UN Inspector fan

  • ||

    OT: Wife tells me that someone is fixing her aunt up with one of the Duck Dynasty guys. So, she decides to watch the show and see what it is all about. Five minutes of that was all I can stand. This is a no. 1 TV show? Really?

    I dont need to watch that on TV. All I have to do is drive a mile down the road in any direction.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Suthenboy,

    Five minutes of that was all I can stand. This is a no. 1 TV show? Really?


    You're just against duck hunting. And excessive facial hair.

    (:-(|)

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    YAY: Topless women march in Vancouver for gender equality
    NAY : About 30 men joined the march on Sunday, wearing bras to show their support

    Also the video sucks

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    This thread is about Syria. Please stay on topless.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I mean, on topic.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Syrians aren't free to be topless.

  • ||

    I am pro topless women, but I am a bit fuzzy on how they are not equal.

  • seguin||

    Something something vagina monologues.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Profiting off student borrowers is "morally wrong" and "obscene," Warren said Wednesday during a conference for young people.

    Fuck you with a 36 grit sandpaper dildo, Liz.

    How do people this dumb attain positions of respectability?

  • ||

    Have you read the comments at Huffpo, jezebel, Dem underground...etc? The comments sections are chock full of marxists. Those people vote. It makes me want to cry.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I guess promoting bodily harm and violation isn't just for rodeo clowns anymore.

    Or maybe it is -- do we know Brooks' profession?

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Any anti-war protests? And how much media coverage of them?

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Well, it looks like the NSA oversight commission is going to include Cass Sunstein, former information czar, proposer of an American version of the 50 Cent Party, and co-coiner of everyone's favorite term. A sample of his thinking from a 2006 paper ominously titled Beyond Marbury: The Executive’s Power To Say
    What the Law Is
    :

    There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law should be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcome should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him.

    Don't you feel better?

  • widget||

    Don't you feel better?

    I'm not fully against electing a king or queen and being done with democracy. How do we do that?

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

  • The Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc||

    I laughed out loud at Twitter when someone posted a comparison between Miley Cyrus' flat ass and Hank Hill's underdeveloped buttocks.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    I think Oprah Winfrey should be the next Doctor Who. And Batman.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    Re: Sarcasmic, Sevo, John
    The morality founded on non-aggression and voluntary transaction may not be the "best" or "right" morality in the scheme of what is actually "real" in the universe, but it is the "best" and "right" morality based on what human beings can perceive and understand as real while we exist on earth.
    If you start with the premise you are actually alive and human being, that the "A" we define by our senses and our interpretation of our senses exists as "A" as we understand it, we can identify objective values based on reason alone. The best outcome in a given situation can be determined based on humanities concept of objectivity and its understanding of the universe.
    What John argued earlier is that our objective reality may not be what is actually "real." So, if "B" is real and right and true, as human beings we may only be able to perceive "A" or "C" or something close to "B". This is Plato's allegory of the cave. Perhaps we can only understand "Light" as the shadows of puppets in an underground cave, and as humans we can't actually understand the reality of light, which is the sun.
    Regardless of whether or not John is right, we live in a universe in which our understanding is limited by our perceptions and our ability to use reason. We can maximize our understanding by using reason, just like we can maximize our morality by doing the things that reason demands. Whether or not you derive that from a historical knowledge, or natural rights (which ul

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    CONT. timately derive from our perception) you can come up with a superior morality.
    Now, if you believe in a God that can understand things that we humans cannot, it's possible that our morality and understanding are not what is "real" but based on our limitations, we can still act in the "best" manner that we know. If John believes in a Christian God, these limitations are those which God placed on us, and as such we must use what He gave us to understand the world.
    I just want to comment on this:
    John wrote: “As far as karma goes, yes we know from quantum mechanics the world is not mechanistic and doesn't operate by our notions of rationality and experience. It doesn't work like a watch. And maybe karma does exist as such like that. But that doesn't strike me as being any more satisfying than theism. Why can't you make the same case for God?”
    Quantum mechanics often seem to defy mechanical physics, but as more and more research is being done, these paradoxes are being rationalized on the basis of observer interference and other theories such as the multi-universe theory. This is the one thing I had an argument about with a friend before I read Atlas Shrugged. If you examine light, it has a dual nature where it can be both a wave and a photon. This observation would seem to defy Rand’s “A” is “A”. But on second consideration, “Light” is still “Light” and its attributes that give it a dual nature can be explained in other ways.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    P.S Sorry about the weird spacing.

  • John||

    All good points and there is nothing wrong with believing those things. The problem is that those ideas or even the idea that the individual has some duty to make the world better for anyone but himself do appeal to some people. And without some greater authority to appeal to, you really can't say they are wrong. You can just say you like your way better. Well, they like their way better.

  • ||

    I take it that neither of you guys has actually studied and gained expertise in quantum mechanics... but why ruin a good metaphor, amiright?

  • ||

    So the inspectors are getting shot at. How convenient.

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