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teh hawtness

Elections for the 18th Knesset

Posted on 01/31/2009 at 02:44
Tunes: Epic Soundtracks - She Sleeps Alone/Love Fucks You Up
(Cross posted at Shaking Off and Facebook.)

So it seems fairly certain that there’s going to be a Likud victory. Now, if we're lucky they will be able form a rainbow coalition with their traditional opponents, Kadima and Labor. Otherwise, Yisrael Beitanu will be the main coalition partner, which means Israeli politics will swing way to the right. Yisrael Beitanu, also known (mainly by me) as the "Fucking Crazy Party", has been compared to the Nazis on occasion but I think that's just journalists getting off on the irony of comparing a Jewish organization to a notoriously antisemitic one. However, Yisrael Beitanu is ultra-nationalistic and racist, which is bad news for any Arabs living in Israel or (especially) the Palestinian territories.

The funny thing is that it is Hamas and, by negligence, the rest of the Arab world, that has driven the Israeli public to such hawkishness. By their constant barrage of rockets, Hamas has brought this on. Now, I can see two possible explanations for this:

  1. Hamas just loves war. They love getting their jihad on and no peace process is going to stop them. Notably when the UN Security Council came up with a ceasefire proposal Hamas rejected it alongside Israel.

  2. The concept of a liberal democracy where people vote for the party that best represents their views instead of the party which they view as being least corrupt; this concept is so utterly foreign to Hamas that they are unaware of the influence they have on Israeli politics.

Now the Israeli blockade of Gaza is stupid, ineffective and wickedly damaging to Israeli credibility. Just take a look at Cuba and you'll see how effective blockades are for inducing regime change. However, the term "Israeli blockade" is misleading because Egypt has been maintaining a blockade as well. You see, everyone hates Hamas. Especially the Arab countries. Egypt is willing to blockade Gaza in order to protect its citizens but is unwilling to take any further action. The governments of the Arab world avoid criticizing Hamas too much because they fear it might provoke an international Islamist uprising (cf. Mugabe and the African Union). So they choose to butt heads with Israel instead of Hamas. Better the devil you know.

teh hawtness

Keep Your Legs Together

Posted on 01/23/2009 at 19:41
Tunes: The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem - The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Part 1 of an infinite part series on the stupidity of abortion.

(Cross posted at Shaking Off and Facebook.)

So President Obama has reversed Ronald Reagan's "Mexico City policy" which disallows public funding for death factories. I mean, obviously it's not enough just to have the ability to slaughter your unborn child, it's necessary for hard working taxpayers to bankroll your ≈$500 "oops." Ever since Mr. Reagan formulated it in 1984, this policy has ping-ponged between Republicans and Democrats. One thing's for sure: it's fairly evident now that Mr. Obama is NOT a secret Muslim. For as the Qur'an tells us: "Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Surely the killing of them is a great sin." (17:31, Yusuf Ali).

For my part, I have conceived of a policy that is complimentary to Mr. Reagan's. I call it the "Keep Your Legs Together policy." It goes something like this: You are about to engage in sexual intercourse. Are you prepared to deal with the challenges of parenthood should your actions result in pregnancy? If yes, then proceed. If no, then keep your legs together!

teh hawtness

A Proclaimation of a New Holiday

Posted on 12/12/2008 at 23:54
Tunes: Epic Soundtracks - She Sleeps Alone/Love Fucks You Up
(Cross posted at Shaking Off and Facebook.)

I hereby proclaim, for now and for evermore, today, December 12 shall be celebrated as Victory over Communism (V-C) Day.

Now I realize that this may seem premature because after all there are still five communist states out there and several more where communist parties form governments. Nonetheless, the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 represented a swift kick in the nuts of the world revolution. The USSR broke apart over the entire month of December 1991, beginning with the Ukrainian independence referendum on the 1st and ending with the complete and utter cessation/transfer of all functions on the 31st.

So why the 12th? Well since it's hard to pin down exactly popular dates include the 21st when the CIS was formed or 26th when the Supreme Soviet voted to dissolve the union. However, since both of these are too close to Christmas, I decided on the 12th which is when Russia left the union, a point that there was definitely no turning back from. Just as if England were to secede from the UK, Russia's departure effectively rendered the superpower defunct.

I want to take this time to recognize some important warriors in the struggle against communism:

Pope John Paul the Great
Everybody knows him, he was the head of the largest church in the world, a figurehead for over a billion people. Nevertheless I believe too many people regard him "simply" as a religious figure and don't appreciate the political influence he had.

The Roman Catholic Church's no-holds-barred opposition to communism was one of several factors that led European communists to break from Moscow and develop "eurocommunism," a version of communism which, among other things, lacked the atheist ambitions of straight up Marxism.

However, I believe one quotation says it better than anything else. In 1992, devout atheist Mikhail Gorbachev made the follow comment: "What has happened in Eastern Europe in recent years would not have been possible without the presence of this Pope, without the great role even political that he has played on the world scene."

Chiang Kai-shek
Much has been said about Chiang's authoritarian rule and human rights violations. While there are many things he did I certainly don't endorse, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place: with the Japanese breaking down his front door and the communists coming in the back he did what he had to. In fighting Japan he lost China and he decided that some freedoms would have to be sacrificed to prevent infiltration. One thing is for sure: in 1949 there were two China's and today one of them is a liberal democracy with a robust economy and the other is an exploitative police state. Chiang's China is the former.

The Partisans
Last, but not least I want to give a shout out to all those who fought against unbelievable odds. After everyone else had given up they refused to put down their arms. While Russian White Army and the Chinese National Revolutionary Army must be given their due, the people for whom I have limitless respect are those who continued to fight to the bitter end, moving from town to town or even living in the wilderness to avoid capture. These people mainly lived in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. Who knows what drove them on to fight a battle they could never hope to win? Perhaps at first they were preparing for Western intervention. But after the brutal crushing of the Hungarian Revolution many still fought on.

I'm really glad I wasn't alive in 1956 because I would have been so fucking pissed off at the uselessness of the West to come to the aid of Hungary. We just sat on our hands and said, "Oh wow, you must be very brave. We're so proud of you, and although we're not going to stop the Soviets from brutally crushing you, Time Magazine has agreed to make you Man of the Year as a consolation prize." 12 years later like déjà vu, the same damn thing happened to Czechoslovakia.

But still they fought on. Poland's "cursed soldiers," the Forest Brothers of the Baltic nations and various groups in Romania. I hope one day I am able to find a cause for which I have a fraction of the passion they had.

teh hawtness

In the long run, we're all dead

Posted on 12/05/2008 at 23:25
Tunes: Epic Soundtracks - She Sleeps Alone/Love Fucks You Up
(Cross posted at Shaking Off and Facebook)

"Ben, why do you complain so much about the monarchy?"
"It has no real power."
"It's not even a relevant issue."

So Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested proroguing of parliament and Governor General Michaëlle Jean granted his request. That buys Mr. Harper some time but ultimately if the opposition parties do topple the government the ball is in Mme. Jean's court. Would she allow a coalition to form? or would she call an election?

Why is it her decision? I don't remember voting for her. I guess she was appointed then, but she must have had parliamentary confirmation. Wait, she didn't? Well, the vast majority previous Governors General have been Members of Parliament, Canadian or British, or at least held some sort of diplomatic post. Pardon? You say she was none of these things? She was actually a reporter? Well, clearly that qualifies her to be the head of our military. I guess she represents same old hag named Mrs. Windsor (just don't call her that in parliament or else you'll be expelled).

Contrary what some will have you believe this coalition idea is more democratic than the Senate and completely constitutional. It's also completely stupid. Like suicide or abortion, just because you can doesn't mean you should. The last two times there were serious coalition discussions it was concerning the issue of conscription. Maybe we should bring that back, too, because I think Hamid Karzai would be a much better leader to live under than Stéphane Dion. You know, if we're lucky, this may even turn into a full blown constitution crisis. That would just be swell on top of that little economic crisis we're already in.

But Mr. Harper, this doesn't mean I'm letting you off the hook. I'd like to introduce you to my good friend John Maynard Keynes. You'd do well to listen to what he has to say.

teh hawtness

In search of Identity

Posted on 11/20/2008 at 23:57
Tunes: Epic Soundtracks - She Sleeps Alone/Love Fucks You Up
(Cross posted at Shaking Off and Facebook)

dum dee dum, it's my birthday. It's the second time in my life that my age is divisible by 11. It will probably happen about 5 more times (hopefully). Let us reflect...

Who am I? No, really, WHO AM I? Well I'm a 70th generation descendant of the Suebi tribe. While that sounds cool it's mostly speculation combined with a little bit of research and math.

This much I know for certain: I'm a tenth generation Swiss Mennonite immigrant and a fourth generation English migrant. Northumberland to be precise, I believe. I'm also a eighth generation Dutch immigrant. I have some Anglo-Norman roots and possibly some Scottish, too. But mostly there's German, Dutch and English blood flowing through my veins giving me a fairly well-rounded Germanic heritage.

I want to be proud of my Germanic heritage, I really do. Unfortunately, unlike other groups like the Slavs or the Celts there's a stigma attached to the idea of a united Germanic ethnicity. You see, there once was this historical figure who was also very proud of his Germanic heritage. His name was Adolf Hitler. Much the same way he ruined the name "Adolf" and the toothbrush moustache, he's ruined Germanic pride. What a douchebag.

Historically national identity has been very closely tied with religious identity and this is no different in my case. My mom's family were all Anglicans from England. My dad's family ultimately hailed from the Old Swiss Confederacy, the birthplace of Anabaptism and the Dutch Republic, which encapsulated Friesland, the birthplace of the Mennonites. As for me personally, I'm still searching. And for me faith is a very private, intimate matter. You could say I'm a lapsed-deist monotheist. But there were two paths I have been exploring. They were two that appealed to me the most and incidentally they both have deep connections with the Germanic peoples.

After exploring Anglicanism I concluded it was a little too traditional for me and I was also uncomfortable with the intimate links it has with the British monarchy. So I next looked to Lutheranism. Martin Luther was, of course, born in the Holy Roman Empire. Lutheranism spread to the Nordic countries where it still functions as an established church in most of them.

The other, more enigmatic, form of Christianity that piqued my interest was Arianism. This school of thought, later to be deemed a heresy was founded by Arius, a Berber priest from Egypt. For awhile it seemed posed to become the dominant form of Christianity. Eventually, however, it was decisively crushed at the Council of Nicaea. However, in the meantime, many of the Germanic "barbarians" had already been converted to Arian Christianity. Odoacer, the first ruler of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire was such a person. Eventually however, the orthodox catholic doctrines won out. Oh well.

After writing this, I am still no closer to my answer of who I am.


teh hawtness

Who's Right and Who's Left?

Posted on 11/04/2008 at 07:57
Tunes: Epic Soundtracks - She Sleeps Alone/Love Fucks You Up
(Cross posted at Shaking Off and Facebook)

I'm thinking of a politician. He has many detractors but is nonetheless an elected official who is very popular where he's from. Some of his various political positions include opposition to gay marriage and support for a two-tiered health care system. He's a man for whom religion is very important and talks openly about his faith. His foreign policy includes maintaining close ties with Israel and sending more troops to fight in Afghanistan.

Who am I thinking of? You're thinking probably some real conservative figure, maybe Stockwell Day? Well you're wrong. I'm thinking of Barack Obama. While he does have a lot of other opinions on various issues, many of which wouldn't fit nicely into this little game we played, the fact of the matter is Mr. Obama isn't nearly as left-wing as some people would like to believe. I laughed out loud the first time I heard him being called a "socialist." If Mr. Obama is a socialist then Jack Layton must currently be planning a revolution of the proletariat.

From here on out I get kind of preachyCollapse )

teh hawtness

In the beginning...

Posted on 06/08/2008 at 07:11
Tunes: Epic Soundtracks - She Sleeps Alone/Love Fucks You Up
(Cross posted at Shaking Off and Facebook)

This is my first entry (in 63 weeks...first ever of my rebooted blog). In the future, when I become the next Kissinger-Sadat-Cromwell-Wilson-Sun-Romero*, we will all be able to look back here and say, "this is where it all began." Forgive the hubris but I have high hopes for myself.

Eventually I'll get married. To someone very interesting, perhaps an Irish Catholic socialist with matrilinial Jewish heritage, red hair and an alto voice who is a scholar on liberation theology. We'll get along despite our differences.† We'll settle down somewhere, and after gaining my citizenship I'll take the position as Ambassador to the United Nations (unless of course I decide to be a missionary in Taiwan). We'll live in a house built from imported Lebanese Cedar, the same wood the Phoenicians used to build their great navies and King Solomon used for the construction of the temple in Jerusalem. I'd like to summer on Bouvet Island if Norway agrees to cede it to me. As I said, high hopes.



This picture appeared in The Globe & Mail about a month ago (AFP/Getty Images). It apparently depicts "opposition gunmen" whatever that means. Lebanon is not unlike Northern Ireland where you have militias on both sides fighting each other. So I guess that makes pretty much everyone a terrorist.

Now what I want to know is why these boys are so well dressed. Their hair is done up all nice and the guy on the right has a very well-sculpted beard. The guy beside him in the maroon has a semi-greaser look going on but that's neither hear nor there. Did a group of friends meet together and say, "Yo man, let's gel our hair and then go get our terrorist on." Or were they just in the middle of a day out on the town when the fighting broke out? If that's the case did they have to run home to get their AK-47s or do they always carry assault rifles around with them?

And what's with the bandanna over the face? Is he pulling off a bank heist in the wild west? It's got a bunch of colours on it and at least two American flags and I'm thinking that's not standard hijab wear. He's holding some sort of stick. It looks like it has electric tape on it. Maybe it's a hockey stick? Was he in the middle of hockey practice? Sorry folks, that is unlikely because Lebanese hockey is dead and there was only one player to begin with.

And that's all I'm going to say. I'm off to the land of the vikings.

* When I first wrote this almost a year ago I was a political realist so I'm not quite sure how Wilson made it onto the list. Over the past months however, I've transitioned into a strongly idealist position thus making the inclusion of Kissinger an anomaly. I've kept the wording unchanged for historical purposes.

I think it would work surprisingly well considering that I'm a Fine Gael supporter which would effectively make our marriage a miniature version of a Fine Gael-Labour coalition.

teh hawtness

Allahu akbar

Posted on 03/24/2007 at 00:59
Current Location: My sanctum sanctorum 2.0
Tunes: XTC - Dear God
Just a thought...

It's interesting that some people think that Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon syncs up too well with The Wizard of Oz to be a coincidence yet have no problem believing the creation of the universe was one.

Until I'm given a better explanation for first cause I'm going to keep on believing. And even though I may be a minority where I am right now, I can rest assured there are billions of others like me around the world.

teh hawtness

books

Posted on 02/28/2007 at 01:22
Went to the book store today. As usual they didn't have what I wanted. I sent away the form for a credit card today also so I won't have this problem anymore.

The books I was interested in but could not find:

Tom Wolfe - The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby
John Brady - Bad Boy: The Life and Politics of Lee Atwater
Tom Wolfe - The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Tom Wolfe - The Right Stuff
Thomas Paine - The Age of Reason
Thomas Paine - The Rights of Man
Mary Wollstonecraft - A Vindication of the Rights of Men
Mary Wollstonecraft - A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Edmund Burke - Reflections on the Revolution in France

And then finally after 9 misses they did have 2 I was interested in:

St. Augustine - Confessions
St. Augustine - City of God

So the latter is over a thousand pages and I wasn't really up to something that long at the moment and both of them are pretty dense, so I decided it would be best to attempt reading them after I had finished the Bible.

And so I picked up 2 other books I hadn't planned on buying which is the way it usually goes:

Thomas L. Friedman - From Beirut to Jerusalem
The Gospel of Judas

So these look like interesting reads. I have much more to say but I'll save it for later. Additionally, some time in the future I'll probably stop posting much here as I think I'm going to acquire my own personal blog, in which I can rant on about music, politics and religion until the sun goes down.

nineteen: thirty
Posted on 02/06/2007 at 23:38
God grant me the serenity to
accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom always to tell the difference.


My cat has diabetes.


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