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OfflinePhred
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Registered: 10/19/00
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Happy happy, joy joy
    #6255097 - 11/06/06 09:43 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

America's premiere essayist -- Bill Whittle -- has just posted his latest essay. I have posted here several times about this guy, but some of the newer members have perhaps not had the pleasure of reading his stuff. Now's your chance. You're in for a treat.

I'd give my left leg to be able to write a fifth as well as Bill Whittle. Check it out at http://www.ejectejecteject.com/archives/000136.html and when you're done make the time to read his previous work, for it is great stuff.

Here's a teaser --




*******************************************************

I’d like to begin this sermon, if I may, by employing some of the rhetorical restraint of the BushHitler crowd and tell you about the worst case of child abuse EVER in the annals of recorded history. (click the pic for full size)



I grew up on an island. I was in the water almost every day. I wanted this Polaris Nuclear Sub more than I wanted the sun to rise. I had picked out a grotto where I could keep it docked. Taking the ferry across the bay from Hamilton, I would look over the rail in anticipation of the day when I would shadow that churning wake, the periscope a thin reed lost in the foam, pursuing those fat clueless prefects into a perfect firing position and their watery graves!

And I am not alone. In finding this picture, I discovered that there are thousands of boys like myself, begging and pleading for the six dollars and ninety-eight cents it costs to build a fully functional, 7-foot, 2-man nuclear submarine that had:

•Controls that work!
•Rockets that fire!
•Real Periscope!
•Firing torpedoes!
•Electrically lit instrument panel!

I stared at this ad for months and months on end as a small boy. And though I must have read each word a thousand times, I have no memory of the phrase “sturdily constructed of 200 lb. test fibreboard!” It finally fell to my father to inform me that “200 lb test fibreboard!” is, in fact, garden-variety cardboard. My immediate response was “but wouldn’t that get all soggy out in the ocean?” And I am deeply ashamed to admit that after all that time, it is only now, in posting this on the internet at 47 years of age, that I realized for the first time that the damn Polaris Nuclear Submarine doesn’t even have a propeller.

Well, that’s seven-year-old boys for you. Had I been so inclined, I was certainly smart enough to have determined that one could not build a Polaris Nuclear Sub with missiles and firing torpedoes and all the rest for $6.98. All $6.98 would buy you in 1967 was a cardboard box painted like a submarine.

I believed it – like so many of my cohorts – because I so desperately wanted to believe it…and the X-ray Specs, and especially those damn Sea Monkeys with their little briefcases and hats and aprons. What heartless son of a bitch wrote those ads? I hope he chokes on his brine shrimp, the bastard.

We live in a sea of information, an Information Age: and yet, it has been almost half a millennium since mankind has been so unwilling or unable to use critical thinking to separate the intellectual wheat from so…much…chaff! Critical Thinking -- the ability to analyze data, determine it’s usefulness and fidelity, to learn how to asses reliability, question methodology, weigh expertise and all the rest – is in shockingly short supply these days. It’s not just a shame; it’s an epidemic, it is a fatal metastasizing disease in a democracy where information is used by the public to make the decisions that steer the ship of state. For the ability to think critically allows us to see the unseen; to find the truth behind the falsehood, as well as the falsehood behind the truth.

Today, it seems that legions of people – growing legions – are falling victims to ideas and beliefs that on the face of it are patently false…things that are so clearly and obviously nuts that you really have to wonder what deep, mighty engine of emotional need could possibly drive a brain so deep into a hole. Seriously now, there are millions and millions of people on this planet who will torture logic and reason to mind-bending extremes in order to believe monumentally ridiculous “theories” … theories drawn from an emotional need so warped and debased that you are catapulted beyond anger and disbelief directly into pathos and the desire to call 911 before these people hurt themselves.

So perhaps we could take a walk through Fantasy Island armed only with a shotgun of logic and a few fact-filled shells and see what intellectual tumors we may safely blow into atoms. Time is short! So let’s start with the easy stuff and work our way up to the Lord God King Mack-Daddy falsehood of our age.



CHICKENHAWKS

Let’s shag a few easy fly balls to warm up, shall we?

The Chickenhawk argument goes something like this: .....

*********************************************








..... and that's all you get here, folks. Click the link for more.




Phred


--------------------


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InvisibleVvellum
Stranger

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 10,920
Re: Happy happy, joy joy [Re: Phred]
    #6255166 - 11/06/06 10:04 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

We live in a sea of information, an Information Age: and yet, it has been almost half a millennium since mankind has been so unwilling or unable to use critical thinking to separate the intellectual wheat from so…much…chaff! Critical Thinking -- the ability to analyze data, determine it’s usefulness and fidelity, to learn how to asses reliability, question methodology, weigh expertise and all the rest – is in shockingly short supply these days.




So, the lack of the ability to use critical thinking is also found in the Bush administration given their total fuckup on the WMD thing, right?


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InvisibleDieCommie

Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 29,258
Re: Happy happy, joy joy [Re: Phred]
    #6255186 - 11/06/06 10:08 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

I like, thx for this.

I especially enjoyed the 'Coexist' part. I see that all around campus, shrill clipped-haired 'ladies' displaying it as though I am the one who needs to learn to coexist.

So does he just write essays for the internet or does he have a job as a journalist or what?


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InvisibleLuddite
I watch Fox News
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Registered: 03/23/06
Posts: 2,946
Re: Happy happy, joy joy [Re: Phred]
    #6257363 - 11/07/06 02:56 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

So the conspiracy theorists and Bush haters are 7 years old then.


Edited by Luddite (11/07/06 02:57 PM)


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InvisibleLuddite
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Registered: 03/23/06
Posts: 2,946
Re: Happy happy, joy joy [Re: Luddite]
    #6257386 - 11/07/06 03:04 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

CHICKENHAWKS

Let’s shag a few easy fly balls to warm up, shall we?

The Chickenhawk argument goes something like this: anyone who favors military action should not be taken seriously unless they themselves are willing to go and do the actual fighting. This particular piece of work is an anti-war crowd attempt to silence the debate by ruling that the other side is out of bounds for the duration. Like all ad hominem attacks, (argumentum ad hominem means “argument against the person”) it is an act of intellectual surrender. The person who employs an ad hominem attack is admitting they cannot win the debate on merit, and hope to chuck the entire thing out the window by attacking the messenger. This is a logical fallacy of the first order, because the messenger is not the message.

The messenger is not the message. That’s all you need to throw away the entire Chickenhawk response. But why stop there when this one is so much fun?

If you ever see this charge again, you may want to reflect that person’s own logical reasoning in the following fashion: You may not talk about education unless you are willing to become a teacher. You may not discuss poverty unless you yourself are willing to go and form a homeless shelter. How dare you criticize Congress unless you are willing to go out and get elected yourself? Your opinion on a National Health Care System is negated out of hand since you are unwilling to get a medical degree and open a clinic. And as far as your opinions regarding the Democratic Underground or The Huffington Post are concerned, well, you can just keep them to yourself, mister, unless you can produce an advanced degree in Abnormal Psychology and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Using the internal reasoning behind the Chickenhawk argument means you cannot comment on, speak about or even hold an opinion on any subject that is not part of your paying day job. It is simple-minded and profoundly anti-democratic, which is why it so deeply appeals to those who sling it around the most.

But wait! There’s more!

If you accept the Chickenhawk argument – that only those actually willing to go and fight have a legitimate opinion on the subject of war – then that means that any decision to go to war must rest exclusively in the hands of the military. Is that what this person really wants? To abandon civilian control of the military? That’s the box they have trapped themselves in with this argument. Now to be perfectly honest, I think Robert Heinlein made a very compelling case for just this line of reasoning in Starship Troopers (the book, not the clueless projected travesty). Heinlein said that the only people who should be allowed to vote are those that have served in the military, since only they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the state. I don’t agree with that. I think civilian control of the military has been one of the pillars of our nation’s success, and it has withstood the test of both World Wars and Civil ones. But that is the world you are stuck in when you toss that little Chickenhawk grenade.

Finally, if the only legitimate opinion on Iraq, say, is that held by the troops themselves, then they are overwhelmingly in favor of being there and finishing what they started. I recently received an e-mail from an Army major who is heading back for his fourth tour. The Chickenhawk argument, coming from an anti-war commentator, legitimizes only those voices that overwhelmingly contradict the anti-war argument.

http://www.ejectejecteject.com/archives/000136.html


Based on the ad hominomists, I should become a vigilante and lynch people without a trial if I think they commited a crime or disagreed with me, instead of relying on the police for protection and the courts for judgement.


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OfflineTurn
Hey Its Free!

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 367
Loc: The fabled catbird seat
Last seen: 11 years, 30 days
Re: Happy happy, joy joy [Re: Luddite]
    #6259011 - 11/07/06 09:28 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

I thought it was good but this one part made me laugh

The huge majority of casualties we have incurred in the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq have come about by our willingness to rebuild and secure a country that we owed nothing to whatsoever.

Owed nothing! What about supporting Saddam in his early years, then sanctioning the country and killing millions of its people, and lets not forget the invasion

He also said...
Hey, I have an idea! How about we support the troops by bringing them home victorious? Whether the Iraqi people deserve it or not is not terribly relevant to me anymore. The troops deserve it. They deserve to leave that place on its feet, with an imperfect government – like every other government – and crime and death and all the rest but with some sense of hope amid all of that. Perhaps the same hope that keeps Iraqi men joining their police and security forces despite the danger and the horror. Regardless of what happens from now on, these people have accomplished something. They have given millions of people hope who had no hope before. That is noble and honorable and good, and nothing and no one can take that from them. That is theirs.

He talks alot about history and this reminded me of the US invasion of the Philippines back in the 1800's. Back then our noble cause was to educate the Filipinos who were savages. Nothing could have been more humane than to have them under our control. Seems like we are still being humane in the world and only making things worse.


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OfflineEconomist
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Re: Happy happy, joy joy [Re: Turn]
    #6259105 - 11/07/06 09:46 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Turn said:
Owed nothing! What about supporting Saddam in his early years, then sanctioning the country and killing millions of its people, and lets not forget the invasion



Let's examine this:

First, if we didn't support Saddam during his early years...the Soviets would have. Do you somehow misguidedly believe this would have resulted in a more optimal outcome?

Second, the sanctions didn't kill anyone. Saddam chose to put severe limits on private business ownership and private land ownership. The land in Iraq is among the most fertile in the world ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertile_crescent ). All Saddam had to do was spend some money on development and farming. But no! That was too hard. Clearly solid-gold AK-47s and Scud Missiles are more important. Unless the sanctions somehow caused gross mismanagement on the part of Saddam, they aren't responsible for anything.

As for the invasion, well, now you're allowed to start businesses, private ownership has been improved, and elections have been held. I think that's a fair tradeoff, and according to Iraqi opinion polls ( http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brmiddleeastnafricara/249.php?nid=&id=&pnt=249&lb= ) they also think it was a fair trade-off, despite the violence and turmoil that have followed.

Quote:

Turn said:
He talks alot about history and this reminded me of the US invasion of the Philippines back in the 1800's. Back then our noble cause was to educate the Filipinos who were savages. Nothing could have been more humane than to have them under our control. Seems like we are still being humane in the world and only making things worse.



Well, you already seem to like to pretend the Soviets didn't exist, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that you're also going to pretend the Spanish Empire didn't exist.

Maybe you should look up Spain's dealings with the Philippines during the 1800s and compare them with the American administration.

By the way, how did things turn out for them? What's that? The Philippines had stable democratic government before Indonesia and Malaysia? But I suppose you're going to overlook this too.


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InvisibleLuddite
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Re: Happy happy, joy joy [Re: Turn]
    #6260530 - 11/08/06 06:19 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_sales_to_Iraq_1973-1990

Imports of conventional arms by Iraq 1973-1990, by source
Values are shown in millions of US dollars at constant (1990) estimated values. "Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact" includes Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. The majority of these transfers came from the Soviet Union, followed by Czechoslovakia.

Year Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact France China (PRC) United States Egypt Others Total
1973 1,321 5 0 0 0 0 1326
1974 1,471 5 0 0 0 0 1476
1975 1,087 35 0 0 0 0 1122
1976 1,161 119 0 0 0 0 1280
1977 1,062 106 0 0 0 0 1168
1978 1,827 26 0 0 0 20 1873
1979 1,108 78 0 0 0 17 1203
1980 1,665 241 0 0 12 114 2032
1981 1,780 731 0 0 46 182 2739
1982 2,023 673 217 0 71 227 3211
1983 1,898 779 745 21 58 773 4274
1984 2,857 883 1,065 6 0 116 4927
1985 2,601 700 1,036 9 32 116 4494
1986 2,663 251 918 9 70 86 3997
1987 2,719 214 887 30 114 157 4121
1988 1,202 355 301 125 118 196 2297
1989 1,319 113 23 0 47 67 1569
1990 537 281 0 0 0 33 851
Total $'s 30301 5595 5192 200 568 2104 43960
Total %'s 68.9% 12.7% 11.8% 0.5% 1.3% 4.8% 100%

Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

SIPRI makes the following comment of the methodology of this table: "The SIPRI data on arms transfers refer to actual deliveries of major conventional weapons. To permit comparison between the data on such deliveries of different weapons and identification of general trends, SIPRI uses a trend-indicator value. The SIPRI values are therefore only an indicator of the volume of international arms transfers and not of the actual financial values of such transfers."


[edit] Arms suppliers to Iraq
The table shows the majority of conventional (non-WMD) arms imported by Iraq during the 1970s, when the regime was building up the armies which were to attack Iran in 1980, were supplied by the Soviet Union and its satellites, principally Czechoslovakia. The only substantial western arms supplier to Iraq was France, which continued to be a major supplier until 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait and all legal arms transfers to Iraq ended.

The United States did not supply any arms to Iraq until 1982, when Iran's growing military success alarmed American policymakers. It then did so every year until 1988. In 1996 the Scott Report in the UK investigated arms sales to Iraq in the 1980s by Matrix Churchill in what became known as the Arms-to-Iraq scandal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_sales_to_Iraq_1973-1990


Edited by Luddite (11/08/06 06:20 AM)


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InvisibleLuddite
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Re: Happy happy, joy joy [Re: Luddite]
    #6260533 - 11/08/06 06:21 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

http://projects.sipri.se/armstrade/Trnd_Ind_IRQ_Imps_73-02.pdf

Top three suppliers of arms to Saddam Hussein, 1973 - 2002

USSR: 57%
* France: 13%
* China: 12%

Then, in order of importance:

* Czechoslovakia: 7%
* Poland: 4%
* Brazil: 2%
* Egypt: 1%
* Romania: 1%
* Denmark: 1%
* Libya: 1%

USA's sales -- 1 percent. None provided before or after the Iraq-Iran war.


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OfflineTurn
Hey Its Free!

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 367
Loc: The fabled catbird seat
Last seen: 11 years, 30 days
Re: Happy happy, joy joy [Re: Economist]
    #6260982 - 11/08/06 11:30 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

Economist said:
By the way, how did things turn out for them? What's that? The Philippines had stable democratic government before Indonesia and Malaysia? But I suppose you're going to overlook this too.




Well that pretty much gives us a blank check to do whatever we want, because chances are in 200 years things will be better. But whatever its way off topic. His article did convince me we don't have to leave Iraq as loosers, maybe it is possible to fix up Iraq


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