Sunday, May 29, 2016

President Obama Apologizes to Japan




 Recently I have read a lot of arguments that President Obama did not apologize to the Japanese for the bombing of Nagasaki or Hiroshima during WWII.  I listened to that speech as he was giving it, and it sure sounded like an apology to me.


 Instead of the usual, “Yes he did!”, “No he didn’t!” discussion between simpletons, let’s get a little more in-depth on the topic.


 Let’s begin by looking at one definition of what an apology is...

According to dictionary.com, an apology is


a written or spokane expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another: He demanded an apology from me for calling him a crook. 2. a defense, excuse, or justification in speech or writing, as for a cause or doctrine.


 Now that we have a foundation to begin this analyzation, it’s time to dissect some of President Obama’s actual words.


How often does material advancement or social innovation blind us to this truth? How easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause. 
Every great religion promises a pathway to love and peace and righteousness, and yet no religion has been spared from believers who have claimed their faith as a license to kill.
 Nations arise telling a story that binds people together in sacrifice and cooperation, allowing for remarkable feats. But those same stories have so often been used to oppress and dehumanize those who are different.


 This is a little disturbing in that it seems President Obama is comparing the defense of ourselves as a “license to kill” based on our faith.  This most certainly falls within the apology definition since it is an expression of remorse for our attack on Japan.


 The United States did not drop bombs on Japan based on a religious crusade, we dropped them during the course of war, to stop the aggression and war-making ability our enemies possessed.


 Later in his speech, President Obama goes on to say,


Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.


   Here we see that President Obama acknowledges that the United States shares in the blame for the suffering of the Japanese people. This also falls within the definition of an apology.


 Still further he continues,


We’re not bound by genetic code to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can learn. We can choose. We can tell our children a different story, one that describes a common humanity, one that makes war less likely and cruelty less easily accepted.


 I fully understand he is referring more generally to all war and battles, but he is at this location, speaking to the Japanese, so indirectly this can also be interpreted as an apology that he regrets the mistake the United States made when they dropped the bombs.


 Did President Obama come right out and apologize for the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? No. But I think the argument is there that some of the wording in his speech is clearly doing just that.

Why not apologize for dropping the bombs? President Truman explains,

Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans. ("Public Papers of the Presidents: Harry S Truman, 1945", pg. 212). - From doug-long.com



 Don’t get me wrong.  I believe the President gave a great speech, and I believe his message was a great one.


My own nation’s story began with simple words: All men are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Realizing that ideal has never been easy, even within our own borders, even among our own citizens. But staying true to that story is worth the effort. It is an ideal to be strived for, an ideal that extends across continents and across oceans. The irreducible worth of every person, the insistence that every life is precious, the radical and necessary notion that we are part of a single human family — that is the story that we all must tell.
 Here’s hoping that eventually this world can get along with one another, and stop bloodshed on a global level forever.


 We’ll never be able to prevent all death, because there will always be individuals that are evil. Unfortunately, until large groups of people stop trying to exterminate one another, war is inevitable. The answer we unleashed on Japan was horrifying, but it helped bring a quick end to a world that was in conflict.

 I fear this same answer may be the only way we can stop it in the future.  I hope I’m wrong.  If we continue to let others dictate their hateful way of life across this planet, the only response left will be massive destruction.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

U.S. Government Announces Microsoft "Unfit for duty"



In a startling press conference today, the Government of Ugly Scientists announced that their current maze-running rodent, "Microsoft" has taken ill with a variety of horrible viruses.

After declaring that Microsoft was "unfit for duty", the lead ugly scientist, Dr. Bartholomew Boobonscrap, informed a shocked audience that their trusted maze-runner, "Novell" will be back in action soon.

Asked if Microsoft would ever recover Dr. Boobonscrap said only that it was determined on how well he reacted to the continuous antiviral injections.

Monday, December 22, 2014

You Got To Have Faith




 I have to tell my tale so often that I thought it was time to write it down.


 First, let me clear a few things up.


 An atheist is a Satan worshiper.  False.  That would imply that we believed in the Christian mythos, which we do not. Without the Christian side of the equation, Satan does not exist either. Make sense?


 All atheist’s are at war with Christians.  False.  This is a tale Christians perpetuate.  Why? Because without scary enemies like Satan or atheists, Christianity loses its grip on its membership.


 I will concede that there are many atheists that are jerks, idiots, etc…  But let’s face it, Christians have their share of lunatics as well.


 This country was founded on Christianity. False. This country was founded by many different people with freedom from government and organized religion on their minds.


 Governments and religions had ruined the world up to that point (and I submit still do), and that is why our founding documents specifically control the formation of an official country religion or government that is not controlled by the people.  Although I feel we are slowly losing our grip on this country due to an increasingly ignorant populace.


 Enough of this type of rant, I literally could go on for hundreds of pages.  Let’s get on with the topic at hand. What the heck happened to me?


 Historically speaking, my family came from a Quaker background.  During my childhood, however, we were essentially of the generic Christian variety.


 We went to church and Sunday school. Learned all about Jesus, God, the Bible, etc…


 Those of you who know me are aware that I don’t just sit by and follow the herd.  I tend to blaze my own trail, and seek knowledge everywhere I can. This has always been my way.


 During my school years, in addition to my own church I went to the usual overnight services where they lock you in, and people go to the front of the crowd to accept Jesus into their lives.


 I prayed, and did my best to accept Jesus, and all the trappings that went along with being a good Christian.


 No matter how hard I believed, or how much I tried to understand, the whole thing didn’t seem right.  Many things did not make sense.


 At around 18 years old I seriously was on the edge…


 Why was I not getting this? What was I missing about religion? Everyone else treated it like it was some unquestionable reality.  I truly thought I had psychological issues because I did not see what everyone else did.


 Talking to others got me nowhere. My friends and their families were just as lost on the topic as I was, they just didn’t seem to care.


 On hindsight it’s like being in a bad science fiction movie where everyone around you is in some trance, and you’re the only one who sees the reality.


 The next step was to go to our pastor. I figured since the flock was just as confused as I was, I would go right to the expert!


 After some long, deep conversations with the pastor it soon became apparent that even he did not know the answers.


 I recall his final answer vividly. “You just have to have faith.”


 To my analytical brain that was not a good answer for me.  It was at that moment when I began to realize there wasn’t anything wrong with me.


 For pretty much the rest of my life I have been searching for the meaning of why people follow religions.


 At first I went in search of a religion that made sense to me.  After all, humans have an underlying need to want to belong to something.

Unfortunately, all religions had one thing in common.  They were created by someone that had an agenda.  There really didn’t seem to be any mystical religion that had all of the answers, or even a few of the answers.


 For over thirty years I continue my studies on religion.  I have read many books on the subject, both pro’s and con’s of many different religions. I’ve gone to ceremonies, spoke with practitioners, and learned a lot.


 My Bachelor’s degree is From Wayland Baptist University, where studying religion is part of the curriculum. Here I learned in-depth about the Old and New Testaments.  Instead of drawing me into Christianity, it emboldened my view.


 There is a saying among atheists, that if you want to convert Christians to be atheists just make them read the entire Bible. There are some really bizarre and scary things in there.


 In this article I am not going to try and explain what I have discovered in my search that had made me forget about Christianity. Nobody can explain this to you if you are not willing to have an open mind and learn these things for yourself.


 Suffice it to say, that if you stop memorizing Bible verses, going to church services and study groups constantly, and strike out on a course to truly study Christianity outside of the church, you will begin to see what’s behind the curtain.


 It’s sort of like taking the red pill in the Matrix.

 For me the journey continues. I still read books on religions of the world, old and new, and watch shows about religious history. Perhaps one day something will click and I will accept Jesus into my life and see what all the fuss is about.  That day is just not today...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why So Syria?




The neighborhood of this world is filled with good and bad societies.

Clandestinely the good try to manipulate the world order through backroom deals, meetings, and other sneaky ways to get things accomplished.

On the other hand, the bad members of our global community tend to be somewhat more raw and blatant in their dealings.

Currently in Syria there is a civil war raging between the bad and the worse.  Which is which?  Only time will tell.

When the citizens of another country are involved in fighting for the right to rule it, the people outside of that country need to stay out of the mix.

The government in Syria has supposedly used chemical weapons on civilians.  Although I would agree this is horrendous and should not be tolerated, Syria has not joined into any treaty agreeing not to use these types of weapons.

Some folks in our government think that because chemical weapons have been used, we need to go in and teach them a lesson.

My question is…  Why?

Around this world atrocities are constantly being committed against the population.  We use sanctions, and other diplomatic techniques to try and get them to fall in line, but in the end it is up to that country to police themselves.

If a country with a stable government decided to just gas its folks, such as Germany and the Jewish people, this would make sense to move in and stop this.

Syria is a nightmare!  It’s evil fighting evil.  We need to just stay the heck out of the way until something finally clears.

The President wants to do some weird itty bitty strike of a hundred missiles.  To what end?

It’s like poking a hornet nest with a stick.  You might do a little damage, but you’re going to piss off the hornets that weren’t really bothering you in the first place.

Syria is not a threat to the national interest or security of the United States in their current situation.  They are more involved with killing one another.  Why poke the nest?

In fact, some have claimed that because this action by Syria does not pose an imminent threat to the United States the President had better get the approval of Congress or risk an impeachable offense.

President Obama has decided to go to Congress for their approval, yet claims he needs no such approval.  So why even consult them?

I think he has brought Congress into the mix to cover his ass.  If Congress votes “No” he can bow out a blame Congress for the decision.  If Congress votes “Yes” and all hell breaks loose because of the attack he has someone to blame for the decision.

Since the people and Congress sound like they don’t want this to be approved, the President is stuck with a conundrum.  His speech on Tuesday tried to cover all of the bases without really saying anything.

Thinking that once you lob a hundred missiles into a country they will apologize and behave themselves is a moronic viewpoint.  Once you attack another country you cannot rewind that action.

Now I’m not afraid of Syria, and I know the United States is powerful and can deal with any conflict.  But why even get involved in the first place?

John Kerry accidentally came up with a great solution for the United States to save face.  In a press conference in London Kerry answered a question asking if anything could be done to prevent a U.S. strike on Syria.  Mr. Kerry brought up that if Syria turned over their entire stockpile of chemical weapons it would mean the United States would not attack.

The State Department tried to backstroke and claimed this was not a serious proposal.   Luckily, Russian President Vladimir Putin jumped on the flippant comment and has agreed to back Syria in removing their chemical weapon stockpiles.

As stated before, a huge percentage of the citizens of the United States do not want the country to get involved in the Syrian civil war, and the President now has a graceful way to back out of the corner that he has painted himself into.

The win for the world is that if we can get Syria onboard with destroying its chemical weapons and enter into the treaty with other nations to ban the future use of such weapons, this is a great step forward.

I will give credit to President Obama because it was his determination to attack Syria that accidentally caused this outcome.  Also, to John Kerry for accidentally coming up with an ideal diplomatic solution.

Although they get credit for their accidental resolution to this situation, they are still on notice for getting us into this predicament to begin with.

Running one of the most powerful countries in the world is not an easy task.  Most of us would choke at the pressure.  Let’s just hope this will remain a peaceful ending to this current crisis.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Neutral Good Human Druid




According to What D&D Character Am I

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Druid (7th Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-12
Dexterity-16
Constitution-12
Intelligence-14
Wisdom-16
Charisma-16


Alignment:
Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.



Class:
Druids gain power not by ruling nature but by being at one with it. They hate the unnatural, including aberrations or undead, and destroy them where possible. Druids receive divine spells from nature, not the gods, and can gain an array of powers as they gain experience, including the ability to take the shapes of animals. The weapons and armor of a druid are restricted by their traditional oaths, not simply training. A druid's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast.



Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)


Friday, March 15, 2013

Bad Egg




 As Easter comes closer I find myself thinking about different people, and how they look at life.

 The human race is made up of a dynamically, undulating, diverse set of variables.  From the physical, to the emotional, we’re like snowflakes, in the sense that none of us are exactly the same.

 Oh sure, we sometimes find some people who are similar to us, and maybe hang out with them, even call them friends, or acquaintances, but there is always a few traits that just don’t match.

 Some differences can be tolerated, and accepted, while others tend to be deal breakers and we don’t fancy ourselves compatible.

 Occasionally, it’s freaky how close we can be to another person.  Close, but still not exact.

 I’m almost certain that most of you reading this belong to a group of some kind.  Perhaps a gang, religious organization, or something else that you find interesting such as a sporting group, or even part of a team for an actual sport.

 Whatever your association is, within that subgroup you still have a large variety of folks.

 Inevitably the group you are in will have conflict within the ranks.  This is what caused churches to split up time and again over the years.  Have you ever stopped to wonder how there became so many different “flavors” of Christians?  Internal turmoil in the group.

 What makes an individual cause strife?  I can’t believe that these people actually face each day trying to be a jerk and cause hate.  It’s so foreign to me when I see this type of person in line someplace just being as rude and belligerent as they can be.

 There are a very large group of people who think that they live their lives better than others because of the groups they belong to.  Collectively they rain down their views on others like they alone reside on Mt. Olympus, and the rest of us are but amusing insects that don’t see life as they do.

 Then you see one of these people acting like a weiner towards someone else.  Or a group of them will whip up a hate frenzy about another group.  It scares me that they do not see how horrible they are being.

 Far from perfect myself, I still try to live each day as a good person.  I view, and treat everyone else, as another person, not as something I should be angry with and hate.  As neutral as I think I am, occasionally I run across someone who dislikes me (not to sound arrogant, but this is very rare).

 My first thought is to find out why and attempt to mend the rift between us.  Frequently I am very successful in this approach, much to my joy.  Typically it’s a misunderstanding, where good communication was all that was required to repair the damage before it got out of control.

 Then there comes a person who, no matter the attempt, settles into just being evil.

 No amount of kindness and understanding seems to penetrate their wicked shielding.  Worse yet, this person is one of the “holier than thou” people who jumps at the chance to be openly, and blatantly, offended when someone swears near them.

 Take a look at yourself in a mirror.  What do you see?

 Do you fit into the basket of eggs that we call the human race, or are you the one disgusting egg that is among the others, starting to smell and become rotten?

 If you find yourself breaking down inside. If you’re angry about the simplest of things, perhaps it’s time for a change.  Find a friend to give you an honest assessment of how you treat others, or even find a good therapist.

 Chances are if you know that you’re a nasty person, everyone else already sees you as the bad egg.