Archive for the 'Abuse' Category

29
Jul
08

The Battle of Good and Evil…

Today I read (watched actually) the 666th post on the blog (or yolog) on the Blog of the Angry Aussie. For his 666th post, he decided to talk about the concepts of good and evil. Well worth listening to what he said if you have a few minutes, because he makes some excellent points.

If I understand what he is saying correctly, he feels that the ideas of Good and Evil are abstractions that have no real definable meaning, and that because of that, there is no such thing as absolute good, or absolute Evil. He raised some good points, with some compelling examples, such as the Nazis, and how none of them thought they were evil, and how evil actions are really a matter of perspective rather than any concrete idea.

But while I agree with a lot of what he said, I do disagree on some of the fundamental implications of his position. Hence this post. I do believe there is a universal definition of Good and a universal definition of Evil. And no, I’m not talking about universal good/evil in relation to, (for Instance) God, and the forces of good fighting against the devil and the forces of evil. I’m talking about how we define the basic earthbound humans daily battle with the moral and ethical questions that drive our actions.

There are a lot of things that are universal in this world. Laws of energy, nature, physics, etc. are inviolate. When we break one of those laws, it isn’t because we really broke it, but rather because we didn’t truly understand it to begin with. I think that universally applicable concepts of good and evil exist in the same way.

I believe that there must be some universally acceptable idea of good and evil, otherwise we would not be able to recognize the individual instances of one from the other, regardless of our individual beliefs. I think that this is a very important point. I think our problem is that we really do not understand the idea of what “Good” or “Evil” truly means at a universal level.

What this means to me, is that the biggest mistake people make with respect to defining good and evil is that they apply too specific a filter on what they consider good and what they consider evil. It is often a function of their cultural or religious belief system, or their cultural morals, or social normalcy, or any random thing they were brought up to believe.

None of these, from my perspective, are good ways to determine the benevolence or malevolence of a person or action, because they are all rooted in a human way of thinking that assumes the thinker understands the difference, or is the good guy. I believe that in order to truly define good and evil as universal concepts, we must learn to think outside of our petty differences, and in terms of a much, much broader picture, otherwise our definition of Good and Evil will, by definition, not be universal in any way, shape or form.

But then the question becomes, is it possible for a human to think in such broad terms? Well, I think so. After all, there are social laws that are universal. Laws that do exist, in one form or another, regardless of religion creed or belief system. A typical example is “The Golden Rule”. Do unto others and all that jazz.

Lets take Mr. A and the example of the Nazi’s. Sure, Nazi’s Germans never woke up every moring and said, “Today would be a great day to be evil.” No, they justified what they did using some altruistic sounding, though heinously misguided, rationalization.

Clearly, your average German walking the streets of Germany today would consider what the Nazis did evil. But why did the Germans of the time not think so? Was it because of a different perspective? And if it was, was that a reasonable perspective?

My answer to the first question is: because they were lying to themselves. And to the last two: No. No way in hell. Why? Because they violated the golden rule. Unless it makes sense to you that if another culture considers yours inferior, that they ought to take the initiative to wipe yours off the face of the earth, nobody can argue that it was a “good” thing.

It’s amazing how quickly peoples perspectives become irrelevant if you correctly apply the Golden Rule to the scenario. Things that people say makes sense suddenly contradict themselves under that paradigm, and the theoretical complications brought about by “differences in perspective” suddenly don’t mean much.

My point here is this. If a concept as simple, as straightforward and easy to apply (if you aren’t lying to yourself) as the Golden Rule, can be applied so universally, regardless of culture, creed and/or belief, then there must be some universal way to define actions that fall in line with the golden rule, and actions that violate it.

And if that exists, then, to my thinking, it follows that there must be some concrete definition to universal Good, and universal Evil… I think that most of us are usually just too egocentric to properly define it…

666-The nature of evil – [Angry Aussie]

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14
Jul
08

Warrantless Wiretapping and You…

I must say, I was rather blindsided by the recent warrantless wiretapping move by Bush and the Justice department. I have been even more intrigued by the many varied and interesting takes on it’s legality. However after looking at all the different sides of the argument, I am confronted by some rather disturbing points that lead me to a rather disturbing conclusion.

Among the articles I read was an interesting article by a Harvard Political Review writer who makes the seemingly irrefutable claim that not only are warrantless wiretaps legal, but they are necessary. The article makes a strong argument for the legality of the new law, however I couldn’t help but notice that it made some rather glaring assumptions in two important aspects. It seems to make the president entirely immune to the law, and it does not actually explain why this is even necessary…

Is the president not subject to the law?

First, the fact that any legislative change had to occur for this would indicate that it was not legal prior to the enactment of these changes. This would mean that Bush had, in fact, committed a crime, and is In effect, rewriting the laws to make his actions legal after the fact.

I don’t know about you, but I was not aware that as president of the United States of America, you were allowed to do whatever you wanted. Yes, as president, you are vested with much more power than the average citizen. But You are still a citizen, and STILL beholden unto the law. In fact the president should be even more so than the average citizen.

I find it irritating that Bush is treating the law of this country like his own personal diary, and Ignores and rewrites them to suit his purposes. This last act is just another in a long string of actions to legitimize actions that would clearly have been illegal had he been subject to the same laws as everyone else. If the president of the United states is simply allowed to change laws whenever it suits their fancy, then the laws become meaningless.

Is it really necessary?

Now even if we disregard the legality of his actions, there is still the issue of the actual need for such a law. This new legislation ostensibly makes it OK for anyones privacy to be invaded without explanation or accountability, so long as it is for the purposes of international surveillance. Here’s what makes no sense to me. The whole purpose of the warrant, as I see it, is to demonstrate a valid need for such an invasion of privacy to occur. This step is needed in order to prevent the abuse of innocent civillians on a random whim. It is there to prevent the needless violation of an American Citizens rights.

Why, exactly, would the government see the need to be able to wiretap anyones phone without a warrant? I do not get this part. Is the government unable to carry out wiretapping programs because of the current laws? And if so, why would that be? Perhaps because they would be illegal otherwise? And is there not a good reason for it’s illegality? Why is it so damaging (according to Bush) to have legal oversight of his international wiretapping programs?

Lets face it, these wiretaps are primarily going to be on US soil, so don’t kid yourself, this is just as much about the legalization of the violation of the rights of American Citizens as it is about fighting terror. Personally, I see no advantages of warrantless wiretaps. And what’s even more telling, is that in spite of the massive media coverage on the issue, there is precious little discussed by anyone, about why, exactly, warrantless wiretaps are a useful, effective and necessary anti-terrorism tool. In fact, I could find no articles that convincingly covered any good solid benefits to it. None. Not one.

Don’t beleive me? Try it yourself. And I’m not talking about the possible benefits of wiretaps on US soil. I mean any concrete reasoning and or evidence/proven benefits for warrantless wiretaps as opposed to the judicially approved warrant based approach. Go look for yourself. And please come back and tell me I’m wrong. Because what really bugs me (pun intended) is that this law effectively also opens the door for a wide range of other wiretap programs that they need not tell anyone about. You do the math.

My conclusion…

There are only two possible advantages I see to this, and neither of them are particularly encouraging good.

First, there is effectively no legal accountablility. None. If you are not required to get a warrant, you don’t have to justify your actions, and you can effectively do whatever you want. This is not a good thing. That process exists to prevent mistakes, keep people in authority in check, and most of all, make sure no laws are broken. Now… Nada.

The second, and rather galling reason, in this bloggers humble opinion, is that under the new law, Bush can no longer be held liable for his illegal actions. My take? There is no need for Warrantless Wiretaps. The prez is simply trying to avoid massive lawsuits…

Obama’s support for the FISA “compromise” – [Salon.com]
Senate Approves Bill to Broaden Wiretap Powers – [New York Times]
Bush’s Wiretapping: Legal and Necessary – [Harvard Political Review]
NSA WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM – [Federation of American Scientists]
Three Media Mistakes on Warrantless Wiretapping – [Electronic Frontier Foundation]
The Threat to our Freedoms: President Bushs Authorization of Warrantless Wiretapping – [Espionage Unlimited]

02
Jul
08

Your Brain. Use it or Lose it. It’s that simple.

OK, I’m not trying to be flippant about the recent rather horrific tragedy involving a 17 year old boy who was decapitated after he jumped two fences in order to gain entry into a restricted area of the GA Six Flags roller coaster he and his church group were visiting.

It was very much a tragedy, and by all accounts this was a good if a little rambunctious kid. He did, however, make a rather terminal error in judgement that ended his life and left behind traumatized witnesses and family members, some of whom may spend a good portion of their lives trying to recover from the loss. It is a tragedy no matter how you slice it.

But this is not what has me posting today. What Irked me were a couple of videos and posters on youtube who I saw talking about how Six Flags should be sued for insufficient signage and fencing…

LOL… Whut?

Now looky here. I’m sorry, this was indeed a tragedy, but honestly, lets look at the reality of what happened.

This kid ignored multiple signs, and jumped over two fences, for reasons we may never know, to enter an obviously dangerous part of the roller coaster ride. If any of you are thinking “Oh well maybe it wasn’t obvious..” Or “Maybe the signage wasn’t clear enough…”, I’m sorry but you are not using your head.

At least not any more than this kid did. You look both ways before crossing the road right? And watch for trains at a railroad crossing, right? This is no different. In fact there is less preventing you from proceeding across a railroad crossing, than there was between these kids and the restricted roller coaster area, even when a train is approaching.

And yet some people have the ignorance to suggest that maybe there should have been more signs. Or more explicit signs. Or taller fencing. And that Six Flags should be sued. Always blame someone else. That’s our MO these days. We try to blame everyone else for our own laziness, ignorance, failings and weaknesses.

Seriously, how difficult is it for a reasonable person to surmise that if you happen to be standing next to, beneath, below or even just in the vicinity of the rails of a roller coaster, you may be injured if it should come by at the breakneck speeds they are all very well known for? Is that such a leap of logic? Perhaps too challenging a mental exercise?

No. We all know fully well that this kid, for whatever reason, was not thinking about any of that, and was bound and determined to do whatever it is he and his buddy were trying to do. More signs, larger signs, more explicit signs, neon signs,  taller fences, a 10ft florescent colored effigy of Krusty the Clown standing there mindlessly repeating: “Don’t jump the fence, or you’ll end up brain dead, like me!” it won’t matter. Unless you want your amusement parks to look like prison camps, there is not much more they can do.

Please, let’s stop trying to place blame where it doesn’t belong. This kid either lacked the common sense or discipline to prevent him from making what turned out to be a fatal mistake. It is what it is. That is either his fault (youth can be reckless), that of those who raised him or of anyone who was supposed to be watching him. Nobody elses.

I wish these people would put this amount of energy into coming up with ways of making our kids behave better and act smarter, rather than on how to make money from tragic incidents like these…

Teen Decapitated by Six Flags Coaster – [AOL News]

18
Jan
08

Have people no respect for the dead?

Two New York men wheeled the corpse of their friend around the sidewalks of midtown Manhattan in an office chair in a failed attempt to cash his $355 Social Security check, police said. – [Yahoo/Reuters]

You know what? This is wrong. Wrong like four thumbs and a pinkey wrong. An office chair? They couldn’t even spring for a rascal? Or even a wheel chair? What the heck?! Seriously, if, at my passing, any of my friends wheels me about in an office chair after I’m dead, I will come back, get up and smack them upside the head, twice, maybe thrice, and probably kick them in the shins for good measure.

Then I’d collect my last social security check, give it to the poor, notify the social security administration of my passing (in writing), break into their house, eat all of their food, being sure to finish all of the good alcohol, then call the police before finally crashing on their couch for the last time with a hand written note that says “This cheap bastige poisoned me.” clenched in my cold dead hand…

In fact, forget the freaking wheelchair, any of you blasted freeloaders reading this, if you ever try this with me, you better have a limo ready or my corpse is gonna open up a can of 100% USDA zombie butt kicking on your pathetic little hiene…

Men wheel out corpse in bid to cash check – [Yahoo/Reuters]

21
Dec
07

Santa fired on account of his hos…

Apparently Santas Jolly Ho, ho, ho, could be perceived as an insult by the Australian populace. A Santa has therefore been fired for uttering Saint Nick’s classic  greeting:

In the latest incident, the Cairns Post newspaper said 70-year-old John Oakes was fired on Monday for saying “ho ho ho” and for singing the Christmas song Jingle Bells.

Westaff spokesman Bert Jansz told the paper Oakes had been dismissed because of his attitude, and not for his ho ho ho-ing. – [Yahoo/Reuters]

Riiiiiiiight… I know exactly what got him fired. He got canned for letting his employers know they were being uptight, anal retentive, politically whipped wusses. Seriously, if any one of you out there can realistically take the greeting “Ho, Ho, Ho” from a Santa as an insult, then you really need to find a bad habit. Maybe drink more, or smoke some pot or something. ‘Cause you really need to loosen up some.

Laughing Santa gets the old heave ho ho ho – [Yahoo/Reuters]

19
Dec
07

You’d think God would have a better sense of humor…

Christian groups are up in arms here over a new children’s film starring Nicole Kidman and based on an award-winning novel by British author Philip Pullman, accusing it of being anti-religious.

Evil in Pullman’s books is represented by the church, called the Magisterium, whose acolytes kidnap orphans across England to subject them to horrible experiments in the frozen northern wastelands. – [Yahoo/AFP]

Seriously, why would anyone who believes in an all-powerful, almighty God, even trouble themselves with things like this? It’s not as if anyone is going to take the movie literally, and decide that the church is evil. Not to mention that there are a lot of other worse things to be complaining about besides a freakin’ movie.

I could point out that, historically, much treachery, killing and death has occurred in the name of Christianity, and religion in general. Numerous crusaders, jihadi, conquerers, terrorists, etc. and wars have often been perpetuated in “Gods” name, or with “Gods” support. But this shouldn’t worry any honest Christians because we are different, and people don’t do that anymore… Right? Oh… Wait… Nevermind.

But as I was saying, does anyone really think God honestly, really cares about this movie? How could it possibly offend Him? It’s a fairy tale for crying out loud! A work of fiction. Why, in the name of all that is holy, would the Almighty be offended by this? Seriously, given how the world works, you’d think God would have, at the very least, an epic sense of humor…

Christian groups slam new Kidman children’s movie – [Yahoo/AFP]

17
Dec
07

Personal Responsibility: an archaic ideal?

What happened to the days when people took responsibility for not only thier own actions but the results if accidents that happen to them?

 An injured woman who slipped in an Alaskan parking lot can sue the federal government for failing to remove snow and ice, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Monday. – [Yahoo/Reuters]

When did it become par for the course for people to sue for slipping and falling on ice? More importantly, why does that make sense to anyone? People don’t intentionally put ice out to make people fall. It’s not a malicious act. It’s an act of nature. Why should anybody be forced to expend the time, energy and/or cash clearing out their own sidewalk? Because it’s on their property? Hogwash!

So what happens if nobody owns the land that you happen to slip and fall on? Who do you sue? God? Mother Nature? How dumb is that? How can it be the rule of the land that if you have an accident on someones property, they are automatically at fault for it, even of they have successfully avoided any similar accident for years?

How about people stop blaming everyone else for accidents that are often just the fault of their own carelessness? How about being more responsible, like walking more carefully when they see ice? Or waiting for hot coffee to cool down before drinking it? These laws shield those who lack common sense, are allowing people to become dumber and dumber every day. Before you know it, we will all be stupid Eloi, hunted and consumed by legal Morlocks…

In icy Alaska, Army can be sued over fall – [Yahoo/Reuters]




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