WikiLeaks does humanity a service : Pharyngula

Well, I knew stories like these would come eventually and although I totally disagree with the idea that Assange is a “hero,” I agree with Myers’ assertion that information is useful when it’s unfiltered through mainstream media outlets; all of whom have a vested interest in slanting the news to further their own political agenda. We have the hard left with CNN and MSNBC and the hard right with FOX. Neither one accurately reports the news but merely tries to outdo the other on political point scoring.  Straight information is our friend, but this information also goes into the hands of kooks, nutjobs, and unstable people the world over who will feel it’s their duty to use it to harm innocent people further. The internet is great in getting truth out there, but really where does self-censorship have a part? Where is the judgment and the critical eye toward the consequences of leaking such information? I think nowhere.

WikiLeaks does humanity a service : Pharyngula

UPDATE: Well I’m glad of this at least, but my point still stands.


Times Are Different

Yesterday, in my anger I posted about the leaks of government documents. Ordinarily I would not care what documents are leaked, but in a time of war, even if it’s an unjust war or even if unwarranted, you do not do this sort of thing DURING it. Rules are different during wartime. Everyone knows that whether they agree with it or not. While we may not have the power to stop what our governments do, we do have the responsibility not to put our people in harm’s way by our actions, whether the documents are “true” or not. Of course some may have different opinions and may believe their consciences are clear in that regard. But mine wouldn’t be. No matter how much you hate the war, why would you endanger soldier’s lives even more than they already are? To prove a political point?  Even though our governments are fighting and using innocent people to further their own political points, doing what we can to minimize harm on all sides is a more practical thing to do.

Story of the Week: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Releases Afghanistan War Logs « The Confluence

I have extremely mixed emotions about the news that a Swedish hacker put all of our troops and our government at risk by releasing documents related to the war in Afghanistan. As the mother of a U.S. military person, I am at first appalled that this is allowed to happen without war crimes charges brought against Julian Assange. I believe in freedom of information, but this is taking it too far. By publishing these pages, our nation is at risk by those who look for any weakness in strength and gives fodder to those who will do anything to undermine government, even if it is their own. I call that the ultimate in cowardice. Hiding behind a computer while those in danger fight. Sure it’s not your war, sure you hate the American government and wish it ill by any means necessary, but you don’t have to further the harm that will be done to troops trying to do their duty by revealing such knowledge to the enemy.  It’s a sickening prospect. There are other ways to expose the government for what it is. This is definitely not the way.

Story of the Week: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Releases Afghanistan War Logs « The Confluence

Presidential Race 2008

I rarely delve into politics on this blog because the issues are never clear-cut, are very complicated, and ultimately are very divisive among even the best of friends, but I was visiting Dennis Kucinich’s site and came across his plan to end the war in Iraq. First, I was impressed that Kucinich had an ACTUAL plan that didn’t involve appeasing big business or toss political “bones” to the standard cronies. And I am soooooo sick of crony-ism in politics! Most politicians are in bed with lobbyists and others who give them money if they promise to push pet projects through with their “earmarks” (i.e. bribes). Honest politicians can’t be heard in this kind of arena. I want someone with a viable plan, not someone who tells us the same thing year in and year out. Second, I believe it’s time to get radical. No, not the stupid Bush is a Nazi type of radicalism. That’s just ignorance. No, I mean radical in implementing the ideas that are necessary to move this country out of the Republican/Democrat, two party rut that it’s been in far too long. It’s time for some new blood in Washington.I know the war in Iraq or anywhere else for that matter is the most divisive issue in this country (next to abortion). I have a son in the Army and am very proud of him. Unlike Cindy Sheehan I do NOT think my son’s or any other man or woman’s service in the military is in vain or is a waste of time, even if they are slinging hash in the mess hall or shuffling papers in an office. No service person’s death was a waste, regardless of whether you believe in war or not. It’s government SERVICE just like working for Social Security or Immgration (changed from Teach For America. See comments). It’s a job that will be required as long as America is a nation. Service men and women should get the same respect as those in any other type of service. I think it’s abhorrent what little respect they do get from some Americans. That said, I do not believe America should be the world’s police. We should invest in a strong DEFENSE not offense. Bring out troops home and let other countries destroy themselves if that’s what they want. It’s not our business. Revolutions start from within, you can’t enforce them from without.

I believe Kucinich focuses on the right issues and has the best message of all the candidates in the line-up so far. I disagree with a few of his ideas, but there is no candidate I agree with 100%. That would be impossible. In fact I think if someone agrees 100% with everything a candidate says, that just means that someone isn’t thinking for themselves at all. And, while I don’t believe there will ever be peace in the world as long as religious fundamentalism exists, the ideal of peace is a commendable goal to work toward and Kucinich has the compassion and integrity to stick with his principles in the face of the politics as usual crowd. I admire that. While he won’t appeal to those looking for the latest celebrity face, he is the one with the biggest heart and the most honest politics. See for yourself:

Sadly, if Kucinich doesn’t make the cut in the primary and win the Democratic nomination, I will be forced to cast my vote for the usual politico, but I will choose the one who deserves to sit in the White House, not the one who sucks up to corporate interests, is bribed by “earmarks,” or who ignores women’s rights. We can only do the best with what we are given.

Off For a Long Memorial Day Weekend

Photo from Daniel Wood’s website 

See you all next week. I’m taking the whole weekend off for Memorial Day. Fun, sun, food, and family visits will fill my days as well as remembering men and women who died to keep our country free.

I will also be remembering, in my thoughts and prayers, those who are in harm’s way right now and who can’t take a long weekend off because they are defending America against those who would rather kill us than live in peace with us. May God surround them and keep them.

Moral Bankruptcy of the Modern Left

Interesting article from the UK’s philosophy blog about the recent Iran hostage situation and the British soldiers. This man makes valid points about the “blame the West” crowd, those who see the West as the bad guy, and makes some cogent observations about the moral bankruptcy of the modern political left movement. Politically, I try to stay mum because I’m somewhat of a progressive with a son in the Army. I support simultaneous but not necessarily mutually exclusive causes sometimes. While I support a strong military for defense purposes, I don’t believe Americans should be the world’s police. I support my son and the Armed Forces 100 percent but believe it’s time to leave Iraq. So, I’m no hardliner either way. You know some movie director said in This Film is Not Yet Rated that pro-military war movies over the centuries have made Americans more warlike. I disagree. Being attacked by terrorists has made Americans more warlike. I don’t buy into the notion that people are morons, hopelessly affected by what they see on TV or in the movie theater. Violent people will see violent films and commit violent acts. Insisting otherwise is just classist bullshit at it’s worst. (This was an excellent movie, by the way, about the movie industry rating system). Anyway, check out the philosopher’s article. 🙂

ps. I thoughtfully answered Suresh’s questions about blogging and found that I fell into the obsessive stat checking category.

TV + the Other Detritus of Life

There’s a lot going on this week boys and girls. For one, I’m on “vacation,” which means that I’m off work and doing nothing at home. No, I’m not even cleaning my house. What kind of vacation is that??? Vacations are for something called “relaxing,” resting from your labors, not adding to it.

My son is home on leave from the Army and is planning a wedding in October with his girlfriend. In the meantime, he is home for almost two weeks before being stationed at Ft. Riley, KS. Sounds fun. We are having a good week getting to know our son again after these long absences. The Army’s been good for him. While in college he went through a particularly existential, “what difference does it all make” period before deciding to join up. We were all surprised that he took this route, but we are extremely proud of him nonetheless.  I pray for peace but hope for full funding of the military’s needs. If you’re going to kick ass, you’d better do it fully prepared. I will now descend my soapbox for more mundane issues.

I’m trying to read way too many books. I’ve started a pile from way back and just keep adding to it. So far, I’m reading His Excellency (a biography of George Washington), The Plague (Camus), The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood), Glittering Images (Howatch), and Dune (Herbert). Toss in a couple of romances and mystery thrillers for brain candy and you get the idea. Will I get through them? I doubt it, although the Washington biography is a fun read, believe it or not. And even though I’ve got thousands of books in my library, I bought a book at Barnes and Noble yesterday Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke. The plot sounds like the premise of The Prestige.

I’ve also kept up on my TV watching. I was looking forward to the premier of Dancing With the Stars last night. All of our usual professional dancers are back and some new ones too. Is it just me, or does Alec look a little surly this season? Hmmm.John Ratzenberger Maybe he always looks like that. Remember he won the first season with Kelly Monoco. This season he’s paired with Paulina Porizkova. Anyway, they have quite a line up but I can tell right now that Billy Ray Cyrus will be the first to go. Or perhaps Heather Mills, who looks like a psycho chick waiting to pounce at any minute! Scary. Who’s going to go far? Ian Ziering (who’s paired with our reigning champion Cheryl Burke), Laila Ali, Joey Fatone, and A. A. Ohno. Ali looked like she put a very arrogant Maksim in his place for the first time in four seasons! Good for her. He was getting a little insufferable there and now he’s downright meek. Go figure. Clyde Drexler, the NBA star, did well. He just looks like a giant teddy bear out there dancing. John Ratzenberger proves that just because you have a few pounds around the middle, it doesn’t mean you can’t dance! I always like to root for the underdog.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…the hubby and I are trying to make sense out of Deadwood. We’ve started watching it in the middle of last season and we are hopelessly lost, so we rented the first season from Netflix. Interestingly, the first season is vastly different than what it’s morphed into. The lighting and cinematography are lighter. There is not as much cussing as in later episodes. Calamity Jane smiles a lot more. Swearingen does not have this flowery speech that he seems to have affected in later episodes. You know, that stupid 1800’s faux syntax that passed for Victorian speech back then. It’s nowhere to be scene, in anybody’s speech for that matter. Good. I find that to be the worst part of the show. I mean really, do we really expect the settlers of Deadwood to sound like they just stepped off the London stage? Nope. Everyone appears to be cleaner in the first season, too. All in all, I wonder if perhaps the writers were listening to their own press and stylizing the show after that? I do know that without Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock, the show wouldn’t hold as much appeal for me. He’s the moral center and the compass of the entire show. Somebody’s gotta do it after all. Keith Carradine’s turn as Wild Bill Hickok will also be greatly missed. Ah well. I suppose now that we know what’s going on we can at least figure out what Hearst is doing. Sheesh!

On Sunday I went to the Baptist church. Those people are hopeless. Or maybe I’m hopeless. Either way, why is it that when you go to church and basically tell everyone you are having a crisis of faith, that they immediately turn tail and run as fast as they can the other way? Even the pastor isn’t initiating any “help” by offering solutions. Ordinarily I’d find this refreshing, but these people have nothing to offer to help those who doubt because THEY HAVE NEVER DOUBTED! I find this a scary thought. How can you even have faith if you’ve never questioned, doubted, or wrestled with God? I can’t comprehend it. It’s the old adage: Having to work for something makes something that much more valuable. No wonder this small church is dying. They are nice people, but there is no fire. The service isn’t “worship,” it’s a good old hymn sing with a sermon thrown in because you have to, don’t ya’ know. I don’t know. I’m dying on the vine here.  Where’s the encouraging, uplifting word of comfort from the body? I must be looking in the wrong place.

Shalom til next time. 🙂