September 29, 2006

Prickle and Boom

You may be familiar with the standard system of the ancient division of elements as used by Hermetic magicians and neopagans, which by and large uses earth, water, fire, air and spirit. We Discordians, contrary buggers that we are, have others. They are sweet, pungent, orange, prickle and boom. Clearly, if I may make a theological point (and I believe that I may,) this week has been veritably dominated by the influences of prickle and boom. Especially prickle. Not that this is unusual in terms of recent events, but some days it's particularly noticeable and looking around at the news, I suspect you'll come to agree if you haven't already seen the rightness of my argument.

Now, the heretical pastafarians will tell you that all this confusion is merely the vengeance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, who created all things with His Noodly Appendage, due to a distasteful lack of pirates. I could argue this on the premise that Eris Discordia (Goddess of Chaos) is plainly a more suitable deity to whom to attribute the recent bizarre turns of this species' history, but I could also argue it on the premise that we've got plenty of pirates running around governing the most powerful country in the world. I will grant you that they haven't got so much as an eye patch or a peg leg among them, and if they've got parrots they keep them at home, but they take a back seat to no one when it comes to corruption, pillage, laying waste, torture, basic cowardice, wastrelsy, cruel debauchery (as opposed to consensual debauchery, which makes life worth living) and flamboyantly large egos. I, too, regret the lack of big feathered hats by which we could clearly distinguish them, but we're nowhere close to a deity-enraging shortage. The heresy though, both this specific heresy and heresy in general, I approve of.

So here's today's dish of prickly damn news, with the occasional flash and boom.

VOA notes that Bush Cites Achievements in Afghanistan, Pakistan as House Considers Interrogation Bill . Achievements? That's one way of looking at it. Bush's full remarks indicate an opinion of Afghanistan that's dangerously unhinged from the reality of that country today.

Bill in Portland Maine's Rum and Coke Friday roundup, along with noting Bob Woodward's revelation that U.S. troops in Iraq are attacked approximately every 15 minutes, relays Bill Maher's response to Hugo Chavez' remarks at the U.N. last week ("Bush said, 'I would love to answer your ridiculous charge that I'm the devil, but I'm a little too busy this week trying to unite my party behind torturing people.'" - Maher) Also, he gives us a link to Keith Olbermann's explanation of the terror threat against him and why the New York Post may have hindered an F.B.I. investigation. (Did you know that they sell Rum and Coke in a can in Costa Rica? Well, now you do.)

You will now be directed once again on this page to The Sideshow, as Avedon has a link to yet another E. European who sees America becoming a dictatorship, a claim bolstered by the adjacent link to Alberto Gonzales threatening judges for going against the administration.

Ampersand explains why rape trials are more about gender performance than law and also complains that even if Hugo Chavez isn't anti-Semitic, he embraces woman-hating Iran.

In response to that last, I'll point again to this article about college enrollment and professional careers for Iranian women, which says that "since the 1979 Revolution: Iran's Islamic government has managed to convince even traditional rural families that it is safe to send their daughters away from home to study." I will paraphrase Amp's commentary of the other day to say that the freedoms to walk outside your house without a scarf on, to have your testimony in court valued equal to a man's and work without having to secure permission are important, but not the only measures of freedom. While their legal structure reflects a backlash against a rapid and forced modernization that forbade the wearing of religious garb in public, leaving many hardline Muslim women feeling confined to their homes, the movement of their society and real achievements of many women there point to the possibility of reform and a systemic lack of will to revert to a Saudi-style society where women are virtual non-persons. Iran's laws are years behind their public sentiment, something I can't say regarding my own country and the Bill of Rights, about African countries where many women get the choice by dint of social norms and economic oppression of being either wives or prostitutes, of Asian countries where the birth of a daughter is typically considered a sad day for a family, of the many countries where girls are routinely sold as child prostitutes to provide for their brothers. There are worse things in the world than having to wear a scarf, even if it's not something I would choose to do.

"You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." - William Jennings Bryan

Venezuela and Nigeria have notified OPEC that they'll voluntarily cut oil production in response to price falls. I foresee a new Axis of Evil speech being prepared to convince the American people that these two countries represent an imminent peril. Iran says they will not use oil as a weapon in the standoff over their enrichment activities.

Black Commentator: Stress-based illnesses brought on by racial hostility are epidemic among black women in N. America. Gay rights are civil rights, says NAACP Chair Julian Bond.

“I don’t think we do it in order for them to become your allies. I think you do it in the hopes that they’ll become your allies. But there are no guarantees that they will. And experience teaches us that many of them will not. No matter who the ‘they’ is. You don’t do it for any profit for yourself; you do it because it is right.” - Julian Bond on fighting for the civil rights of others.

Pandagon: ATM for Jeebus. Jesus. What the military considers worth investigating. A republic, if we can keep it.

Suburban Guerrilla: Every Democrat running for president voted against torture yesterday. Stealing 2000. Can you Trick or Vote?

Black Looks: Muktar Mai of Pakistan has refused to be intimidated by the gang rape that was mandated by her village elders as a punishment for her brother's behavior and has the blog to prove it. Prudence died in Cameroon because her family didn't have $80, story via Nicolas Kristof.

BBC: Estonia impounds the Dutch-chartered Panamanian ship that seems to have intentionally released a damaging chemical spill in the Ivory Coast. Cambodia's 20 year old shantytowns are being leveled and the residents displaced to make way for luxury building development and the "beautification of the city." Fires of awareness in Brazil's rainforests. Branson unveils Virgin Galactic prototype and the space tourist Anousheh Ansari (of the Ansari X-Prize Foundation) lands in Kazakhstan after 10 days in on the space station. The only Number Two guy in Al-Qaida that the U.S. hasn't managed to report as dead says that Bush is a failure and a liar. Even a stopped clock ... can now be a living embarassment to a once proud nation.

Culture Kitchen notes a sadly ironic push in parts of the Muslim world to blame the Jews for the Pope's defamation of Islam. When I read things like that, I must confess it makes it just a little harder to argue to people that religion shouldn't be considered prima facie a social evil. So as fortification, one might head over to Sojourners for an article about conscientious objectors in the U.S. military and Jim Wallis' exhortation to resolve the situation in Iran with words instead of war. Or to Street Prophets for a post about Desmond Tutu's rabble-rousing for peace. Or to Veiled4Allah for a Muslim prayer for Darfur and what the Quran says about taking a life.

Asia Times: A British captain describes current Afghanistan policy as barking mad. Did a neocon leak intentionally poison the Iran-E.U. talks? Jim Lobe highlights an alternative U.S. foreign policy drafted by 400 policy experts coordinated through Princeton University.

Catch the song Real Live Love by Jess Klein (h/t Atrios) because it's just good, good music.

And one more thing to consider ... Have YOU been touched by His Noodly Appendage? This is not as easy a question to answer as it might at first seem.

Posted by natasha at September 29, 2006 01:29 PM | Recommended Reading | Technorati links |

Hello Natasha and all,

Why do religious leaders and followers so often participate in and support blatant evil?

The time is long past to stop focusing on symptoms and myriad details and finally seek lasting solutions. Until we address the core causes of the millennia of struggle and suffering that have bedeviled humanity, these repeating cycles of evil will never end.

History is replete with examples of religious leaders and followers advocating, supporting, and participating in blatant evil. Regardless of attempts to shift or deny blame, history clearly records the widespread crimes of Christianity. Whether we're talking about the abominations of the Inquisition, Crusades, the greed and genocide of colonizers, slavery in the Americas, or the Bush administration's recent deeds and results, Christianity has always spawned great evil. The deeds of many Muslims and the state of Israel are also prime examples.

The paradox of adherents who speak of peace and good deeds contrasted with leaders and willing cohorts knowingly using religion for evil keeps the cycle of violence spinning through time. Why does religion seem to represent good while always serving as a constant source of deception, conflict, and the chosen tool of great deceivers? The answer is simple. The combination of faith and religion is a strong delusion purposely designed to affect one's ability to reason clearly. Regardless of the current pope's duplicitous talk about reason, faith and religion are the opposite of truth, wisdom, and justice and completely incompatible with logic.

Religion, like politics and money, creates a spiritual, conceptual, and karmic endless loop. By their very nature, they always create opponents and losers which leads to a never ending cycle of losers striving to become winners again, ad infinitum. This purposeful logic trap always creates myriad sources of conflict and injustice, regardless of often-stated ideals, which are always diluted by ignorance and delusion. The only way to stop the cycle is to convert or kill off all opponents or to end the systems and concepts that drive it.

Think it through, would the Creator of all knowledge and wisdom insist that you remain ignorant by simply believing what you have been told by obviously duplicitous religious founders and leaders? Would a compassionate Creator want you to participate in a system that guarantees injustice and suffering to your fellow souls? Isn’t it far more likely that religion is a tool of greedy men seeking to profit from the ignorance of followers and the strife it constantly foments? When you mix religion with the equally destructive delusions of money and politics, injustice, chaos, and the profits they generate are guaranteed.


...and here...


Posted by: Seven Star Hand at September 29, 2006 04:48 PM

Heh. Enjoy your phase, resolve your issues with your parents and chill the heck out.

Posted by: natasha at September 29, 2006 07:05 PM

Hail Eris!!!!!

Posted by: Pope Bandar bin Turtle at September 30, 2006 06:21 AM