Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What Do People Think, Really?

We get a certain skewed view of the world if we just talk to our friends, or if we just get the news from TV, or ... if we read the comments section at the Teach the Facts blog. So it's good to check on a legitimate public opinion survey every once in a while, just as a gauge of how people are feeling, really.

Being nonpartisan here, we're going to skip over the political results of the latest AP-Ipsos Public Affairs Poll. OK, I'll tell you: people don't like the President or his Congress. No more details on that. There is some other interesting stuff in this survey -- sometimes it's just good to know what people really think out there.

They asked people if they believed "things in this country are heading in the right direction, or are they off on the wrong track?"

67 percent said wrong track, 30 percent said right direction. This was actually a nonsignificant shift in the optimistic direction since last month. Can you imagine that? Two-thirds of people disapprove of the direction the country is going. So, in a democracy, you might wonder ... why is it going that direction?

I'm not going to try to answer that question.

A kind of interesting result turned up when they asked people what they thought was "the most important problem facing the USA today." Clearly, war is on people's minds: 22 percent said "war" was our worst problem; of those, 14 percent specifically said "war with Iraq," and another 8 percent of them said "wars, unrest throughout the world." Immigration (9 percent) was seen as a more important problem than terrorism (7 percent). Overall, 42 percent of people thought foreign affairs issues such as these were our most important problems.

22 percent listed domestic issues. The biggest was "political leaders," which 9 percent reported as our most important problem, followed by "energy crisis" at 8 percent, morality at 4 percent, and education at 3 percent. I think I understand the "political leaders" thing; "energy crisis" probably has to do with paying fifty dollars to fill your tank; we'll come back to morality.

Finally, 14 percent of people thought the economy was our most important problem, in particular 9 percent listed "economy (unspecified)," whatever that really means. It might mean, "I personally have a job, I am able to pay my bills, but I don't understand how the country is paying for these wars and things, or when this is all going to come back and bite us."

OK, here's where my eye goes. Four percent of people think that "morality" is our biggest problem. It doesn't look like anybody reported "the gay agenda," or "condoms," or even "premarital sex" as a particularly important problem, and this is less than half the number of people who thought our political leaders are our worst problem.

I wonder who responded with "morality," and what they meant. If you caught me in a certain mood, I might say that morality is our country's most important problem. The idea that research that could save thousands of lives should be blocked on a theological technicality is immoral, torture and sexual humiliation of prisoners of war is immoral, attack and occupation of nonthreatening third-world countries is immoral, corporate greed and lying is immoral, destroying the environment is immoral, spying on citizens' private conversations without a search warrant is immoral ... you see what I'm saying? Immorality really is the central theme in this day and age. To me, it's our biggest problem, really.

I wonder how many of the "morality" responses were people like me, and how many were your garden-variety CRC-type knee-jerk moralizers.

Even if you figure that none of them were answering like I would have ... four percent. How can four percent of the population cause so much trouble?

40 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Even if you figure that none of them were answering like I would have ... four percent. How can four percent of the population cause so much trouble?"

What trouble? Maybe they don't think morality is the biggest problem because they see things going the right way. Gay marriage fails to be enacted nearly everywhere, abortion is becoming harder to get and widely recognized as murder , abstinence programs have reduced teen pregnancy from the heydey of valueless sex-ed, the three branches of government are dominated by pro-family groups, even the Hollywood-in-the-East MCPS can't force a pro-gay, pro-promiscuity sex-ed curriculum on the populace, et al, et al.

Why would anyone think this is the most important problem? The free-love 60s generation is fading into oblivion. Obviously, few people think a handful of crackpot blog sites constitute a major problem.

H.A.

July 26, 2006 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rated "R" for Religion?

Anne Morse

The Weekly Standard

July 14, 2006

HAS THE MPAA begun rating films based on religious content?

It depends on who you believe. The one thing everybody agrees on is that Facing the Giants, a church-made film about a Christian football coach who conquers the "giants" of fear and failure, deserved its PG rating. But was it for the adult themes of infertility and depression, as the Motion Picture Association of America claims, or was it for its evangelical Christian content, as its producer, Provident Films, maintains?

Provident spokesperson Kris Fuhr told Scripps Howard News Service that the MPAA used the word "proselytizing" in its explanation for giving the film--which contains no sex, violence, or profanity--a PG rating. "They decided that the movie was heavily laden with messages from one religion and that this might offend people from other religions," Fuhr said, adding: "It is kind of interesting that faith has joined that list of deadly sins that the MPAA board wants to warn parents to worry about."

Christian bloggers went ballistic over the news, and the MPAA received 15,000 angry emails, along with a letter from Majority Whip Roy Blunt asking MPAA president Dan Glickman for an explanation. Pointing out that--according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health--the MPAA's standards for onscreen sex and violence have weakened dramatically in the last decade, "This incident raises the disquieting possibility that MPAA considers exposure to Christian themes more dangerous for children than exposure to gratuitous sex and mindless violence," Blunt wrote.

In a letter of response, Glickman denied that religion had anything to do with the PG rating, which is intended to warn parents that material in a film may be inappropriate for children. And MPAA ratings board chair Joan Graves told Daily Variety that promoters for Facing the Giants acknowledged that "they made a mistake" in believing that religious content affected the film's rating----a claim Provident Films head Ben Howard called "absolutely inaccurate." Provident Film's Nancy Lovell insists that it was the MPAA that changed its position, not Provident. "The first communication from the MPAA was that religion was a factor in the rating. Since then, the MPAA has revised those factors to no longer include religion," she told Daily Variety. If the MPAA has indeed decided to rate films with an eye on religious content, it will be interesting to see how consistent those ratings will be. Will only Christian films be suspect, or will parents also be warned about films with Jewish or Buddhist or Muslim-friendly messages? What about films that attack or mock religious doctrine--such as The Da Vinci Code and The Last Temptation of Christ?

After all, film-goers have a right to know what they're exposing their children to. And God forbid that innocent moviegoers find themselves inadvertently supporting a religiously-themed film with intolerant truth claims. One only wishes that, given how many people rent older films, that the MPAA would warn viewers of potentially offensive religious themes they may encounter in these pictures.

For the religiously-sensitive viewer who doesn't want to wait, here are some updated warnings for some films of yesteryear:

The Sound of Music; 1965, Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer. Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Warning: Explicit depictions of Roman Catholic singing nuns, convent life, religious dialogue, and obedience to Christian God. For mature audiences only.

The End of the Affair; 1999, Julianne Moore, Ralph Fiennes; two Academy Award nominations. An adulterous woman embraces Roman Catholicism and gives up lover. Proselytizing, miracles, exclusive heavy focus on one religion, discussions of sainthood. Warning: Conversion theme may offend atheists.

It's a Wonderful Life; Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed. Best Picture Oscar, 1946: Warning: Film depicts man praying exclusively to the Christian God for help, and receiving it in the form of an angel. Intolerant depiction of the local atheist as the meanest man in town. Parents strongly cautioned.

A Man for All Seasons; 1966, Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller. Eight Oscar nominations. Flagrant religious fanaticism ("I die the king's good servant, but God's first!"); religiously-inspired inflexibility; religiously-motivated violence, and too many lawyers. Viewers strongly cautioned.

The Robe; 1956, Richard Burton, Victor Mature. Contains graphic proselytizing; propagandizes for the Christian religion. Features exclusive truth claims and homeless, roaming apostles. Depicts crucifixion and alleged resurrection of Christ, miracles, and conversion of governmental authorities. Insensitive to other religious traditions. Parents strongly cautioned.

I Confess; 1953, Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter. Film by Alfred Hitchcock depicting a fanatical Catholic priest who refuses to violate the sanctity of the confessional even at the risk of his life. Heavily laden with messages from one religion which may offend viewers from other religions.

It Happened One Night; Best picture, 1935. Upholds the repressive Judeo-Christian teaching that sexual relations should be reserved for marriage. Gratuitous biblical references to the walls of Jericho.

The Bells of St. Mary's; Best picture, 1945. Propagandistic depiction of nuns teaching at a Catholic school and the priest who oppresses them. Heavily laden with messages from one religion; flagrant display of sexist religious practices. Not suitable for children.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; 2005, Georgie Henley, Tilda Swinton. Warning: Contains heavy proselytizing by means of Christian allegory; impressionable children may be tricked into converting to Christianity. Religiously intolerant plot implies that the religion of a big yellow lion is superior to that of a skinny white witch. Parents strongly cautioned.

Sergeant York; 1941, Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, two Academy Awards. Warning: Features graphic conversion scene involving Tennessee hell-raiser Alvin York. Gratuitous Bible-thumping; Christian faith used to justify move from pacifism to willingness to kill in wartime. May offend Amish viewers and Jim Wallis.

Chariots of Fire; 1981, Ian Charleson, Ben Cross, Best Picture Oscar. Contains heavy proselytizing for Christian religion; religious fanaticism (character's refusal to run on Sundays). May offend athletes who do run on Sundays.

The Greatest Story Ever Told; 1964, Max Von Sydow. Contains intolerant insinuation that other religious stories are less great.

Mrs. Miniver; 1942, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Best Picture Oscar. Features belligerent, pro-war sermon by Protestant clergyman; lusty singing of "Onward Christian Soldiers;" intolerant implication that only the Christian religion provides comfort and solace in times of trouble. Not appropriate for children. Not appropriate for adults, either.

My Fair Lady; 1964, Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison; Best Picture Oscar. Contains song, "Get Me to the Church on Time," which may offend viewers who prefer to see Alfie Doolittle arrive at other types of houses of worship in a punctual manner; insensitive to viewers who may prefer to see Professor Henry Higgins marry Freddie.

The MPAA's ratings system came about because parents wanted to know how much in the way of violence, sexual content, adult themes, and foul language a film contained so they could determine if their children should be exposed to it. If large numbers of parents are now demanding religious warnings about films, we're not hearing much about it--which suggests that the only people taking offense at Christianity on screen are the MPAA raters themselves.


Anne Morse is a senior writer at the Wilberforce Forum in Lansdowne, Virginia. © Copyright 2006, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

July 26, 2006 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Daisy said...

JimK said, "The idea that research that could save thousands of lives should be blocked on a theological technicality is immoral, torture and sexual humiliation of prisoners of war is immoral, attack and occupation of nonthreatening third-world countries is immoral, corporate greed and lying is immoral, destroying the environment is immoral, spying on citizens' private conversations without a search warrant is immoral ... you see what I'm saying?"

Yes I see what you're saying and couldn't agree with you more.

The 8% who listed "energy" as their #1 concern in the poll aren't just worried about fifty bucks per tank of gas. Energy costs across the board are rising. Have you paid for a month of air conditioning yet this summer? My 83 year old mother's bill was over $300 in June even though she kept her thermostat at 80 degrees. On her fixed income, this jump in price makes for big problems. If not for her children's assistance, she'd be choosing between air conditioning and her medications this month.

I wonder how many of the deaths from the heat in California this week are seniors who chose their meds over their comfort.

July 26, 2006 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymouse said...

Why don't you try a real poll like this one from Fox News.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,203346,00.html

July 26, 2006 10:42 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, ignoring this absurd Weakly Standard article that you have posted in its entirety, the movie rating thing was discussed on this blog HERE.

It makes perfectly good sense to warn parents that their children are going to see a movie with strong religious content.

JimK

July 26, 2006 10:46 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim writes,

I wonder who responded with "morality," and what they meant. If you caught me in a certain mood, I might say that morality is our country's most important problem.

If we caught you in a certain mood then you might say...? Do you understand just how conditional such a comment sounds? Please don't be offended but I have a difflicult understanding such a comment in any way other than trivializing genuine moral concerns.

The idea that research that could save thousands of lives should be blocked on a theological technicality is immoral

One more time...nothing, I repeat NOTHING has been blocked other than the public funding of embryonic destructive research. Capeche?

And once again...sigh...it is not a theological technicality for those that are opposed to ESCR. Every person alive started out as an embryo...that is a FACT...and the embryo, unlike a single egg or sperm, is a potential human person. It is true that whether or not that potential person is ever realized is a quite speculative, and indeed many will be potential that is never realized for any number of reasons. Does that mean that we, those of us that have had that embryonic potential realized, should destroy the potential of others for our own purposes? Yes, yes...I know, many embryos will be destroyed because they will decay beyond any use, or will be discarded, but that is not the same as destroying them in order that we might find any number of cures. Either human persons are treated as ends in themselves and respected as such, or they are used as a means to an end, and are used in any way we choose.

Exactly how is this a "theological technicality"?

torture and sexual humiliation of prisoners of war is immoral, attack and occupation of nonthreatening third-world countries is immoral, corporate greed and lying is immoral, destroying the environment is immoral, spying on citizens' private conversations without a search warrant is immoral ... you see what I'm saying?

Yes, I do...the litany of complaint from the Angry Left in America...yes, we love the US, but only if it will reshape itself to look a little more like Western Europe. Sorry, but I'll have to pass on the offer.

I am working on an op-ed that I will have ready by this September 11th. My wife does not like the thesis of my op-ed one bit because it is unyielding grim, and because she works in a business that would be adversely affected by my thesis.

My thesis? That what the United States needs now, more than ever is another September 11th...only this time on a grander scale that would make us pine for the post 9/11/01 days. I think I will frame it as an open letter to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda...and will frame it in such a way to make it clear that I don't like even entertaining such thoughts, much less committing them to the printed word. However, I think there is a need to communicate what I and others that desire to fight and defeat Islamist nihilism
think with regrads to the so-called "war on terror". What do we think? We think that more and more of our fellow citizens need to be reminded of what is at stake and who we are fighting.

As surely as day follows night, I suspect that this will happen, and I deeply regret that fact.

Immorality really is the central theme in this day and age. To me, it's our biggest problem, really.

Given your comments, I remain unconvinced.

I wonder how many of the "morality" responses were people like me, and how many were your garden-variety CRC-type knee-jerk moralizers.

Like you? Oh, you mean the liberal/left-wing secular blame Amercia first extremists?

July 26, 2006 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If large numbers of parents are now demanding religious warnings about films, we're not hearing much about it--which suggests that the only people taking offense at Christianity on screen are the MPAA raters themselves."

Personally, I don't think there's a sizable number of parents who are concerned about the effects of children's exposure to religious themes.

Similarly, in Montgomery County, there wasn't really an outcry among parents (or students, for that matter) demanding training in sexual variations.

How does this lunatic fringe of liberal fanatics cause so much trouble?

Oh, that's right. They don't.

H.A.

July 26, 2006 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"However, I think there is a need to communicate what I and others that desire to fight and defeat Islamist nihilism
think with regrads to the so-called "war on terror". What do we think? We think that more and more of our fellow citizens need to be reminded of what is at stake and who we are fighting."

Unfortunately, they will be. What we're seeing in the Mid-East right now is all connected and may be the beginning of WWIII. Does anyone thinks its a coincidence that Hezbollah started a war just as the civilized world was focusing on how to stop the Iranian nuclear threat. Iran funds Hezbollah. Did you know that Iranian officials were present on July 4th when North Korea tested long range missiles over the Pacific?

Civilization has an enemy that doesn't see an need to surrender.

July 26, 2006 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another in a series of reasons Americans are not worried that morality is a big problem:


"Wash. state court upholds ban on gay marriage

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington Supreme Court ruled against gay marriage Wednesday, upholding the state’s 1998 Defense of Marriage Act.

The 38 plaintiffs in the case — 19 gay and lesbian couples seeking to marry — challenged the constitutionality of the 1998 law, which limits marriage to heterosexual couples.

Judges in King and Thurston counties overturned the law in 2004, citing the state constitution’s “privileges and immunities” section. The state appealed, and the cases were consolidated for state Supreme Court review.

In their arguments before the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said the gay marriage ban violates a constitutional prohibition against granting privileges to one group of citizens but not another. They also argued the ban violated the state’s Equal Rights Amendment.

Attorneys defending the marriage law said the state has a legitimate interest in regulating relationships that produce children.

The decision is just the latest in a series of significant court rulings on the issue in recent weeks, most falling in favor of opponents.

Courts reinstated voter-approved bans on gay marriage in Nebraska and Georgia earlier this month.

Massachusetts’ high court — the same court that issued the historic ruling that has allowed more than 8,000 same-sex couples since 2004 to marry in that state — ruled a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage could go on the ballot.

In Connecticut, a judge found gay and lesbian couples had not been harmed by that state’s decision to grant them civil unions but not marriage.

In all, 45 states have passed laws banning gay marriage or limiting marriage to between a man and a woman.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

July 26, 2006 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orin thinks we need a "grander scale" 9-11 type incident to unite the country. What, a Pearl Harbor maybe?

I disagree. We do not need to suffer thousands of American deaths and injuries to become one nation with liberty and justice for all. We already suffered through the horrific loss of 9/11, we pulled together and united as we went after the bad guys who were responsible for our loss, and then the misleader in charge blew it.

What we need is a leader, a genuine American leader who has true compassion for all Americans, not just some base or another.

July 26, 2006 1:31 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Orin said
If we caught you in a certain mood then you might say...? Do you understand just how conditional such a comment sounds? Please don't be offended but I have a difflicult understanding such a comment in any way other than trivializing genuine moral concerns.


Listen, most of the time I process this junk peripherally, like everybody else. Like, yesterday I quoted CNN's "Faith and Values" reporter. You don't stop and think about what those words mean, we "know" what they mean. Well, we don't really, we just know that they are cliches used to address an aggregation of beliefs of a certain sort. If we thought about it, we would interpret it entirely differently.

So I'm saying, on most days I'd be busy if they asked me this question, and I'd just answer it in the usual way. I know what they keyword "morality" refers to to -- it means Janet Jackson's breast, porn on the Internet, fuzzy teen orgies on TV, obsession with other people's sex lives. If I were in a more thoughtful mood I might stop, though, and address the actual question of morality, that is, determining what is right and wrong behavior, what is good and what is evil. And I would get an entirely different answer -- look, nobody in the country was actually offended by Janet Jackson's boob. It's not a real moral issue, it's just something we call "morality" in our modern-day jargon.

As for your thesis that we need a bigger 9/11, um, Orin, I think you oughta start taking your meds again. Your argument is: 1.the world is evil; 2.not enough evil things are happening to convince everyone of that fact; 3.it would be better if something realy terrible happened. You want to make the point that more and more of our fellow citizens need to be reminded of what is at stake and who we are fighting, but the way things are going, nothing is at stake, and we are fighting people who have not threatened us in the least. To you, this is a sad fact, because your philosophy needs terrible things to confirm it.

Here you sit, actively wishing for mass destruction in our country -- and you stereotype me as angry?

It appears that Anon here agrees with you, things just aren't bad enough.

This is a real eye-opener.

I'm not saying there's no threat in the world, but the threats that exist are everyday threats just like we've always faced. We had institutions to deal with those things, and they mostly worked. If they need some tuning up, ok, let's do that, but it is insanity to become obsessed with fear as an end in itself, and it is not a good sign that you think America needs something worse than 9/11.

JimK

July 26, 2006 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JimK
“How can four percent of the population cause so much trouble?”

So sorry to tell you this jimK but the GLBTN group that you are constantly trying to advocate for tolerance of is only 2.5% to 3% of the population. Not the 10% you tried to get in the curriculum or the 4% you quoted above. Nice try though.

JimK
“67 percent said wrong track, 30 percent said right direction.”
Lying with statistics
32% think that the administration is not doing enough. 35% think the administration is doing too much and 30% think it is just right. It is the typical three bears story

Truth cannot afford to be tolerant where it faces positive evil.
Rabindranath Tagore quotes

Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil” Thomas Mann

July 26, 2006 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It appears that Anon here agrees with you, things just aren't bad enough."

Actually, no I don't. But I do think things are already pretty serious. Taking the Charles Lindberg approach that is advocated here is not only delaying the inevitable but making the eventual inevitable much worse. The war on terrorism is completely necessary and is far from over.

I hope there is not another 9/11 but that hope is not too bright these days. It's hard to remember at this point, but the current administration did nothing to incite this attack on civilization. And despite threats, vows and attempts from the terrorists, this administration has so far avoided a repeat.

The terrorists and their sympathizers don't resent anything about us other than our success.

Meanwhile, what poor victim are you referring to here?:

"we are fighting people who have not threatened us in the least"s

July 26, 2006 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well, we don't really, we just know that they are cliches used to address an aggregation of beliefs of a certain sort. If we thought about it, we would interpret it entirely differently."

Actually, while you're thinking about it, you might also want to get a little knowledge to enlighten your thinking.

Just a thought.

H.A.

July 26, 2006 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Orin Ryssman
Orin don't louse faith don't let the parasites on this website get you down. They are loosing and so they are attacking with all they have. Which is not much. Pry for men’s harts even though that look beyond redemption they strike out in there own twisted pain. But, don't despair things are moving in the right direction, there lies cannot change that. Don’t waver don’t stop fighting.

anon said
"Truth cannot afford to be tolerant where it faces positive evil.
Rabindranath Tagore quotes

Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil” Thomas Mann"

so true

July 26, 2006 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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July 26, 2006 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's some thoughts from someone with a little more firsthand experience of the U.S. war effort than TTF:

Iraqi Prime Minister Addresses Congress

Al-Maliki Says Insurgent Attacks Pervert Islamic Faith

By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY, AP

WASHINGTON (July 26) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki insisted Wednesday that his country is a front line in the war on terrorism and said those behind the rampant violence there are perverting the Islamic faith.

"I know some of you question whether Iraq is part of the war on terror," al-Maliki told a joint meeting of Congress.

"Let me be very clear," al-Maliki said. "This is a battle between true Islam, for which a person's liberty and rights constitute essential cornerstones, and terrorism, which wraps itself in a fake Islamic cloak."

July 26, 2006 4:15 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Again, Orin writes (sigh, I know, this is getting a tad repetitive),

And once again...sigh...it is not a theological technicality for those that are opposed to ESCR. Every person alive started out as an embryo...that is a FACT...and the embryo, unlike a single egg or sperm, is a potential human person. It is true that whether or not that potential person is ever realized is a quite speculative, and indeed many will be potential that is never realized for any number of reasons. Does that mean that we, those of us that have had that embryonic potential realized, should destroy the potential of others for our own purposes? Yes, yes...I know, many embryos will be destroyed because they will decay beyond any use, or will be discarded, but that is not the same as destroying them in order that we might find any number of cures. Either human persons are treated as ends in themselves and respected as such, or they are used as a means to an end, and are used in any way we choose.

And Orin asks the question,

Exactly how is this a "theological technicality"?

And now in that great Ben Stein drone I ask...anyone have the answer? Class...anyone?

Again, Jim writes,

And I would get an entirely different answer -- look, nobody in the country was actually offended by Janet Jackson's boob. It's not a real moral issue, it's just something we call "morality" in our modern-day jargon.

But you did not ask me, Jim...LOL. Actually, I suspect you are correct here...I was neither offended (because I do not watch much tv, and certainly not sports) nor surprised, as I simply see this yet another "pothole" in the road of public sensibilities ever increasingly coarsened by a thousand and one small breaches of indecency. It all adds up...go ahead, kid yourself...but discerning watchers of social/cultural trends understand this as that gradual slope tending downwards.

As for your thesis that we need a bigger 9/11, um, Orin, I think you oughta start taking your meds again.

Sigh...well, maybe you have a point, since the late morning hour is when my caffeine level is at its lowest ebb.

Your argument is: 1.the world is evil;

Did I say that? Where? No, what I will say is that humankind is a combination of good and evil, and it is unwise to pretend that humankind has only the potential for the former and not the later.

There are essentially two views of human nature. The first, that of Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778; still considered the "father" of the modern Enlightenment) is expressed best in this brief quip in The Social Contract, "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains". As regards contemporary liberalism, nearly all strands can be traced in one way or another back to Rousseau. The second view of human nature I think is best expressed by the writer Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being and who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart."

And here are a few other quotes by Solzhenitsyn,

"Truth seldom is pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter."
Commencement address at Harvard University , June 8, 1978

"A loss of courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days..."
Source: Commencement address at Harvard University , June 8, 1978

Jim continuing,

2.not enough evil things are happening to convince everyone of that fact;

Please...besides, denial is more than a river in Egypt...all one has to do visit south Lebanon these days.

3.it would be better if something really terrible happened.

"It would be better"? No, there again you mischaracterize what I have said. Here is the last sentence from that paragraph,

We think that more and more of our fellow citizens need to be reminded of what is at stake and who we are fighting.

Now exactly how is that an expression of "it would be better"???

You want to make the point that more and more of our fellow citizens need to be reminded of what is at stake and who we are fighting, but the way things are going, nothing is at stake, and we are fighting people who have not threatened us in the least.

I am sorry you feel that way...truly sorry.

To you, this is a sad fact, because your philosophy needs terrible things to confirm it.

And your philosophy needs what to confirm it?

Again, you are off the mark. Answer me this...which Jew in Nazi Germany was better off...the ones that hung around with the hope that things would get better, or the ones that could read the writing on the wall, and got out while they could (those that could)? As one jewish speaker I listened to once said of pre-WWII western European Jews, the pessimists went into exile, while the optimists went to the ovens.

Sigh, yes, I know, it is a grim way to look at things, but is it not better to err on the side of caution (since isn't that what condoms are an expression of...erring on the side of caution)?

Here you sit, actively wishing for mass destruction in our country -- and you stereotype me as angry?

Again...once again, you miss the mark, mischaracterize or to put it more bluntly, you flat out get it wrong that such is my wish. I wrote,

As surely as day follows night, I suspect that this will happen, and I deeply regret that fact.

Now I understand that I was not nearly clear enough. Ok, how about this: As surely as day follows night, I suspect that this will happen, and I am saddened by this possibility and it deeply grieves me that my fellow citizens and I may needlessly suffer more as a result.

Anonymous writes,

I disagree. We do not need to suffer thousands of American deaths and injuries to become one nation with liberty and justice for all. We already suffered through the horrific loss of 9/11, we pulled together and united as we went after the bad guys who were responsible for our loss, and then the misleader in charge blew it.

Ah, I did not know that John Kerry was blogging here, since Kerry seems to believe that if he had been elected President he could have prevented the war provoked by Hezbollah and engaged by Israel,

** start quite **
U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who was in town Sunday to help Gov. Jennifer Granholm campaign for her re-election bid, took time to take a jab at the Bush administration for its lack of leadership in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

"If I was president, this wouldn't have happened," said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John's bar and grill in Detroit's Cass Corridor.
** end quote **

So, how did we get mislead? Oh, yeah, it is only a matter of defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan and then al Qaeda would simply pack their bags and call it a day? There is a single word to describe this worldview: naive.

And finally (for now),

Anonymous writes,

Orin don't louse faith don't let the parasites on this website get you down.

I know you would like to compliment me, but I ask that you please do not speak about those we happen to disagree with on this forum in such a way. Thank you.

July 26, 2006 7:46 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

We think that more and more of our fellow citizens need to be reminded of what is at stake and who we are fighting.

Now exactly how is that an expression of "it would be better"???

Mmm, "need to be reminded?" I'm just guessing.

It's a funny concept, anyway, to need to be reminded of what you're actually supposedly doing at the moment. Q:What is at stake? A:Nothing out of the ordinary. Q:Who are we fighting? A:We are our own worst enemy, by far.

And your philosophy needs what to confirm it?

Joie de vivre. Friends. Music.

...which Jew in Nazi Germany was better off...

Orin, nobody in America is remotely in the situation that the Jews were in under Hitler. No one has threatended to do what Hitler did, the analogy just doesn't hold up in any way.

Listen, Orin, there has never been a time without horrible things happening. It doesn't make sense to spend all your energy bemoaning the fact that more bad things are going to happen. Especially since, while we brace ourselves for horrible things, and defend ourselves from imagined attacks -- we are the ones doing the horrible things! The Iraqis didn't attack us -- we attacked them!!! We have destroyed that whole country, savaged thousands, murdered tens of thousands more, and why? Because we were afraid they were going to do something to us.

Sorry man, it doesn't work. It's time for a change. It's not that hard to share the world with other people.

JimK

July 26, 2006 9:05 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

And by the way, Orin, the theological technicality. Tell me what's the difference between aborting an embryo of a few cells, and THIS? (Warning: war realism.) It's not clear to me why you avidly promote one kind of loss of life, that of living breathing conscious human beings, and oppose so absolutely the loss of a life that can at most be described as a "potential" person.

JimK

July 26, 2006 9:29 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim writes, evading an answer to my question,

And by the way, Orin, the theological technicality. Tell me what's the difference between aborting an embryo of a few cells, and THIS? (Warning: war realism.

(Attempting to peer thru the smoke...) Well Jim, that is an interesting website...Leni Riefenstahl would be proud. Oh, by the way, here is her website, which chronicles a long and richly fufilling life, unlike the jewish victims of her boss,

http://www.leni-riefenstahl.de/eng/bio.html

Remember: context, context, context. Then again, the purpose of agit-prop is not to deepen one's understanding, is it?

If Hezbollah had NOT attacked Israel, none of those pictures would have become the grim reality that they are now. That is a FACT.

Then again, Hezbollah and its sponsoring State, Iran (a truly theocratic regime, as opposed to the phantasmagoria of the one the Angry Left has cooked up and tries to sell at every opportunity) are on record as wanting to finish off Hitler's work. And what was Hitler's work? Well, here are a couple of links...

(Warning: war realism)

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/starvationexperiment.html

or, how about this one?

http://history.sandiego.edu/cdr2/PATCH/NA/ww2181.jpg

Then again, you could go to the Holocaust Museum in downtown DC, couldn't you? Have you? I have, and the experience was unforgettable.

Newsflash Jim: the State of Israel exists, if for no other reason, so that the bromide of the 20th century, "Never Again" becomes a promise realized.

It's not clear to me why you avidly promote one kind of loss of life, that of living breathing conscious human beings, and oppose so absolutely the loss of a life that can at most be described as a "potential" person.

Though this is as deeply cynical and morally obtuse a question as I have ever read, I will answer your question directly (quite unlike my direct questions to you...hummm, could this be the linguistic/rhetorical equivalent of a flashbang device intended to stun and divert one's attention?).

Actually, I don't support war...but I do support the right of one country to defend itself against another. It is truly unfortunate that innocent people have been caught in the middle of what is really a war between Israel and Iran. This happens in every conflict between nations that cannot settle their differences via politics (since war is an extension of politics). This brings to mind the many innocent people of the City of Dresden (Germany) during WWII. More info, esp. number of killed, can be found here,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dresden_in_World_War_II

Jim writes,

and oppose so absolutely the loss of a life that can at most be described as a "potential" person.

Bzzzzz, wrong again Jim...I am reconciled to the fact that ESCR is a reality of our 'brave new world'. All I ask is that you don't force me to pay for it...sound fair?

This has been an odd experience for me...it is alot like the few times I have spoken with a close relative of mine that lives in Austria, and that can only be accurately described as a self-hating American. It is rather a pity to feel that way about a country that in so many ways remains, "the last, best hope of Earth" (Lincoln).

Adieu.

July 27, 2006 4:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I disagree. We do not need to suffer thousands of American deaths and injuries to become one nation with liberty and justice for all. We already suffered through the horrific loss of 9/11, we pulled together and united as we went after the bad guys who were responsible for our loss, and then the misleader in charge blew it.

Ah, I did not know that John Kerry was blogging here, since Kerry seems to believe that if he had been elected President he could have prevented the war provoked by Hezbollah and engaged by Israel,

** start quite **
U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who was in town Sunday to help Gov. Jennifer Granholm campaign for her re-election bid, took time to take a jab at the Bush administration for its lack of leadership in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

"If I was president, this wouldn't have happened," said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John's bar and grill in Detroit's Cass Corridor.
** end quote **

So, how did we get mislead? Oh, yeah, it is only a matter of defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan and then al Qaeda would simply pack their bags and call it a day? There is a single word to describe this worldview: naive."

Nice evasion! You even managed to bring up Swift-boated Kerry, which has nothing to do with what I said. I'm talking about your stated desire for a grander 9/11 event in the US ("what the United States needs now, more than ever is another September 11th...only this time on a grander scale") not the Arab desire to drive Israel into the sea. Thanks for the *compliment* but I am not Senator Kerry. I'm just a citizen making a simple and honest observation:

After 9/11, polls indicate there was much unity in this country. We all supported routing the Taliban so that Afghanistan would no longer enable terrorists like Al Qaeda because, believe it or not, we all agree that no country should provide safe havens for terrorists. But for some reason polls since 9/11 have shown that unity has atrophied and been replaced with the vitriol we see here on this blog more and more frequently. I contend that reason is the failure of Bush's leadership to keep us united.

Further, it seems to me and a whole lot of other people that Bush is not truly interested in uniting Americans but only in maintaining and expanding the GOP majority. What a pity. He had the whole country united and he blew it.

July 27, 2006 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Canadian killed from UN force complained his position shielding Hizbullah

Canadian killed from UN force complained his position shielding Hizbullah
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 26 July 2006

"...the tragic loss of a soldier yesterday who I happen to know and I think
probably is from my Regiment. We've received e-mails from him a few days ago
and he described the fact that he was taking within - in one case - three
meters of his position "for tactical necessity - not being targeted". Now
that's veiled speech in the military and what he was telling us was
Hizbullah fighters were all over his position and the IDF were (sic)
targeting them and that's a favorite trick by people who don't have
representation in the UN. They use the UN as shields knowing that they
can't be punished for it."

Retired Canadian Major General Lewis MacKenzie interviewed on CBC Toronto
radio 26 July 2006
For recording:
http://cbc.ca/metromorning/media/20060726LMCJUL26.ram

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

July 27, 2006 6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al-Qaida Calls for Holy War Against Israel

Terrorist Group Releases New Tape, Vows Attacks

By WILLA THAYER, AP

CAIRO, Egypt (July 27) - Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call in a new videotape released Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq."

Ayman al-Zawahri said the "war with Israel does not depend on cease-fires" in his latest message. He is al-Qaida's No. 2 leader.

In the message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahri, second in command to Osama bin Laden, said that al-Qaida now views "all the world as a battlefield open in front of us."

The Egyptian-born physician said that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants would not be ended with "cease-fires or agreements."

"It is a Jihad for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahri said. "We will attack everywhere."

July 27, 2006 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would an fundamentalist Islamic state stretching from Spain to Iraq be a threat to us? Or would they be "people who have not threatened us in the least"?

July 27, 2006 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anoonymous, your an idiot.

July 27, 2006 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah. so was Winston Churchill, right?

July 27, 2006 9:54 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Anonymous writes,

After 9/11, polls indicate there was much unity in this country. We all supported routing the Taliban so that Afghanistan would no longer enable terrorists like Al Qaeda because, believe it or not, we all agree that no country should provide safe havens for terrorists.

Oh, really? You obviously missed the coverage of fellow Americans protesting the US military campiagn in Afghanistan. Yes, they were appalling, though still a legitimate exercise of the First Amendment.

But for some reason polls since 9/11 have shown that unity has atrophied and been replaced with the vitriol we see here on this blog more and more frequently.

Indeed...because the hatred fanned by the Angry Left as communicated thru various forms of communication has re-directed the focus away from the (warning: morally biased language) evil doers, and towards so called warmongering NeoCons. And then when the AL was once again unable to defeat Bush (a second time, no less...and with millions donated from George Soros alone)...well, hell hath no fury as those scorned by the voters. I am STILL surprised that Bush won re-election...

I contend that reason is the failure of Bush's leadership to keep us united.

Well, fine, contend all you want...you can even contend that the Earth is flat, but it does not change the fact segments of the American population hate Bush, and do not want him him to succeed because then it would reflect positively on the things he did to make this country safe again.

Newsflash: the United States is at war right now, and often during war a leader must make decisions that even their own military disagree with...

Further, it seems to me and a whole lot of other people that Bush is not truly interested in uniting Americans but only in maintaining and expanding the GOP majority.

Bush is the leader at present of the Republican Party...would you have him take actions that would undercut his own party's ability to govern. I would not respect any Democrat that would do that.

What a pity. He had the whole country united and he blew it.

Ok, keep telling yourself that...but the bottomline is this: when Bush beat Gore (again, much to the surprise of nearly everyone...certainly I was surprised), a candidate considered superior to Bush by the elite of this country (eventhough Gore never finished Theology, Law or Business School, while Bush earned an MBA), it earned Bush the undying hatred of the Democratic Party and the Angry Left (as best represented by MoveOn.org - the leftovers from the 60's). They vowed to beat Bush in '04...only that did not happen, so they are only more livid.

Problem is that now we are at war...we have a two fron war. One, over in Afghanistan and Iraq. The other here at home. The purpose here at home is to defeat Bush...only now that he is very nearly a lame duck Pres. their options are limited. The only way left for Dems and AL's is to defeat Bush in the almighty
opinion polls. But to do that it must be made to appear that the US has lost the war in the battle against islamist nihilistic terrorism.

Frankly, I feel sorry for the Democratic Party and those self-hating Americans that constitute the leadership, not to mention the rank-and-file membership, of the Angry Left. The only way for them to collectively "win" (in their effort to defeat what remains of Bush) is for the United States to lose.

Sad, sad, sad...

July 27, 2006 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JimK said...
And by the way, Orin, the theological technicality. Tell me what's the difference between aborting an embryo of a few cells, and THIS? (Warning: war realism.) It's not clear to me why you avidly promote one kind of loss of life, that of living breathing conscious human beings, and oppose so absolutely the loss of a life that can at most be described as a "potential" person.

I see killing a babby is Ok to you JimK. you seem to have a double standard. what 46 millinon killed in the usa you got no problem with that. don't cry to me about loss of life. you don't care!

July 27, 2006 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim said ""energy crisis" probably has to do with paying fifty dollars to fill your tank"

Paying dearly to fill up a tank buys all this too:

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

"Exxon Posts $10 Billion Profit, Shares at New High
By Deepa Babington, Reuters

NEW YORK (July 27) - Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest public oil company, on Thursday reported quarterly profit surged 35 percent to more than $10 billion, driven by yet another quarter of sharply higher oil prices.

The results sailed past Wall Street forecasts and sent its shares to an all-time high, but quickly triggered a fresh wave of outrage from U.S. lawmakers and consumer groups angry at Big Oil's profiting handsomely while gasoline prices soar."

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

Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

By Dana Milbank and Justin Blum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 16, 2005; Page A01

A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.

The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

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

Exxon Mobil Corp.

Top Campaign Finance Recipients

National Republican Party Committees: $1,112,045
National Democratic Party Committees: $167,350
President George W Bush (R): $91,322
Rep Anne Meagher Northup (R-KY): $28,000
Rep Heather Ann Wilson (R-NM): $27,500
Rep Donald E Young (R-AK): $25,500
Sen John Eric Ensign (R-NV): $25,000
Sen Jim Bunning (R-KY): $21,000
Rep Donald L Sherwood (R-PA): $20,000
Sen Christopher S Bond (R-MO): $20,000
Subtotal: 1,539,717

Breakdown By Party


Democrats: $396,283 (10.35%)
Republicans: $3,295,908 (86.11%)
Other: $135,400 (3.54%)

July 27, 2006 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The republican party is veddy veddy good for the oil business.

July 28, 2006 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and veddy veddy bad for the environment:

Clean air status in peril
Oil exploration boom threatens to send ozone levels soaring
By Todd Hartman, Rocky Mountain News
June 7, 2006

Soaring smog-forming emissions tied to exploding exploration of oil and gas northeast of Denver threaten to push up metro-area ozone levels, jeopardizing the region's ability to stay within federal clean air limits.

New projections show booming drilling business in Weld and Adams counties will generate smog-forming emissions in 2007 at levels 61 percent ahead of earlier expectations for those activities, a forecast that will likely force state regulators to impose sweeping controls on the industry.

Watching closely is the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which has agreed to declare the Denver area a clean air region for ozone if it stays within health limits for the pollutant over the summers of 2005, 2006 and 2007...

Tuesday, for the sixth day in a row, the Regional Air Quality Council issued an Ozone Action Alert, encouraging residents to limit driving, painting, mowing and refueling during the hottest daytime hours...

Sources of smog

Ground-level ozone, a major component of smog, forms when so-called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, bake in the summer sun. Here's a sampling of the projected levels of VOCs (tons per day) for 2007 and their sources in the metro area, as well as Weld County:

• Oil and gas exploration 236

• Cars, trucks and other vehicles 117.5

• Lawn and garden equipment 31.2

• Paint, other structural coatings 20.8

• Power plants, refineries, other large facilities 28.8

• Gas stations 16

• Pesticide application 10

• Total man-made sources 479.4*

July 28, 2006 7:18 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Orin,

You should be ashamed of yourself. (I can't imagine that Wyatt and his clones ever would, so it's clear you're the better person).

Israel is today fighting a war against genocidal Islamic jihadism. Not a war on terrorism, but a war against a state-sponsored genocidal entity, Hezbollah. My son's best friend has been in the fighting at Beit J'bail, with other friends waiting to be deployed.

In the meantime, the US is impotent because it wasted its "moral capital" as well as actual military power on a useless, unnecessary, illegal and self-destructive war against an imaginary enemy. Instead of standing up to our real enemies in Iran and North Korea, Rumsfeld and Cheney admitted they chose the "soft" target, Iraq. Thank you so very much. And these were the people who slept through the summer of 2001.

Don't you spout nonsense about Jews and germany while my family is under bombardment in Haifa and your Bush cultists rant about the non-existent left wing from their cozy home offices while Americans die in Iraq and this country can do nothing to fight the real war.

As for the "theological technicality": maybe it is your religious tradition that says that a zygote or a blastocyst is a human life. I remember reading that the Catholic Church has a really hard time figuring out what to do about all those ensouled embryos that are spontaneously aborted at God's whim. You're entitled to your religious beliefs, but I am entitled to mine as well, and mine do not hold the blastocyst to be a human being, or a nonsensical "pre-born" human. Sort of like the Christianists' "pre-owned car." Since I don't believe as you do, it behooves you to refrain from using the secular government to impose your personal religious beliefs on the rest of us.

July 28, 2006 11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 29, 2006 8:55 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, I'm not tolerating that crap here.

JimK

July 29, 2006 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

While it's good for the public to read what bullies some people are, the semiliterate commenter who showed up on this blog a couple of weeks ago has a schoolyard bully mentality and deserves a trip to the woodshed IMHO.

This is your blog Jim, and you wisely set up one rule to post here. Basically anything goes except moron's comments will be deleted. This old broad is glad you are once again enforcing it.

Aunt Bea

July 30, 2006 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As free speech dies, we all die a little. Personal attacks are to be made by TTF only! Intelligent comments of an opposing view will be destroyed. He who controls the media controls the masses. Tolerance is a one-way street. We demand it, but we do not give it. Intolerance in the name of tolerance. Repression in the name of freedom. And now from Mr. Aunt Bee violence in the name of peace. It does hurt to realize that you have become what you hate the most!

July 30, 2006 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

Anon said, "Intelligent comments of an opposing view will be destroyed."

I saw your comment before Jim deleted it. It was NOT intelligent by any stretch of the imagination. It showed your black heart. You should thank Jim for not allowing you to embarrass yourself in public.

Christine

July 31, 2006 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If that's the guy that comes here misspelling words and saying stupid things, thanks for deleting Jim. He makes pro-family forces look bad.

Still, Aunt Bea, get help.

H.A.

July 31, 2006 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were very intelligent comments. Harsh and vulgar yes, but than I find a lot of the blogs on this site harsh and vulgar. Why would it be wrong to respond in-kind? You cannot respond to the facts that are conveyed by the words. You can only attack the grammar? Well you can play stupid you all are so good at that. “I don’t know what she is saying.” But I count those as victories as much as they bother you for a couple of days until you become distracted by something else. Personally I am glad so many of you got a chance to read it before Jim deleted it as I am glad Jim deleted it, I new he would, that’s why I wrote it that way. So I made my point! As for my misspelling learn to tolerate it you hypocritical intolerant bigots.

July 31, 2006 1:27 PM  

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