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McCain's Choice [Aug. 30th, 2008|12:28 am]
Wise Tits
d_h_belmont
John McCain's pick for VP, if you haven't heard, is Alaskan Senator Sarah Palin.

Seeing as McCain and the GOP are really REALLY trying to get the idea across that Barack Obama is inexperienced, McCain's choice seems extremely hyprocritical as both of them haven't spent a lot of time in "the game". Obama is a first term senator, and Palin is a first term governor of Alaska. Both Obama and Palin are about the same age. Not only does it seem hypocritical to me, it seems to be blatant pandering to frustrated voters who REALLY REALLY wanted Hillary to get the nod. It also seems a way to go "Well, if you vote for me, we can make history too as she'd be the first woman vice president!". It doesn't seem to be a choice based on what's best for the nation, who would be the most qualified for the job, but instead, solely, what could capture the most votes.

Someone on a Star Trek discussion forum gave McCain "props" for "thinking for himself and not just going along with what his advisors and consultants say". Independent thinking is good, but... I wish I was drinking coffee at that moment so I could spit it all over the computer I was using. Are we really going to give someone props for disregarding advice given to him who obviously know enough of what they are talking about to get hired in the first place? Is this "go it alone" policy really a GOOD thing? Oh yeah, this advice is sounds and logical, but I am going to do whatever I want because I am the guy running for office. Everyone else can screw themselves.

Republicans acting Hypocritical? Tell me something new.
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Meat-a-t.... Carnivores. [Aug. 29th, 2008|10:12 am]
Wise Tits

hahahasyyke
A friend of mine is going to be vegetarian for 3 months, obviously for health and not moral reasons, and it brings me to my inner debate of whether meat eating is "moral" or not.

I will start this by saying that I did go vegetarian for a short period of time, after watching a movie that showed exactly what goes on in the processing of our meaty products. When I did this, it was more out of disgust by the treatment of the animals before they're turned into food, and also for health reasons not related to weight. Anyway...

Our modern world is somewhat characterized now by the "Green Movement." It pretty much deals with the notion that humanity's actions are harmful to the Ecosphere that we're part of, and that the Ecosphere is more important that humanity's desires. One of the ideas that belongs to this movement is that eating meat is morally unjustified, and that vegetarianism/veganism is a life style that us humans should follow in order to live with a clean conscience. I feel the need to challenge that, and point out why I'd say meat-eating is morally justified.

First of all, there's the subject of natural order. A lot of animals consume other animals - thusly, they eat meat. They also benefit from it, and they don't think twice about it. Therefore, the act of meat-eating is part of the natural order. A lot of people on the subject of eating meat don't denounce animals for eating meat, yet they'll complain about humans consuming animals. Wouldn't that be a slightly hypocritical position?

Then these reasons seem to come up: 1- Humans have a moral capacity, and animals don't. Since eating meat is immoral, because it causes suffering, only humans have a moral obligation to stop. 2- The way that humans collect meat for eating, factory farming, is an inhumane industry that performs numerous acts of animal abuse.

Okay, so the first argument has two assumptions: Something that has no moral capacity can be excused for an immoral act, and that the act of causing suffering is inexcusable and immoral. First one can be dismissed since a child with no understanding of the law can steal a candy bar from the store and it will still be wrong, despite that the child doesn't have an understanding of right and wrong in that area at that point. The second point is refuted since the suffering is part of the natural order. Since the idea of stopping meat-eating is from the notion of preserving and following natural order, the position proves to be sort of hypocritical, right?

And for the second argument - I won't dispute this, obviously. Many groups in factory farming are responsible for foul treatment. This idea is to raise the fattest creatures rather than the healthiest. However, the fact that the means of obtaining meat for human consumption is flawed doesn't make it immoral itself. It simply means our obligation is not to force the world into a vegetarian lifestyle, but rather to correct the factory farming system through a series of laws that would reduce abuse and benefit the consumer, producer, and investor through better quality meat that comes from healthier animals, which would still have plenty of substance for consumption.

And, having addressed those arguments...
As mentioned earlier it is psychological, and I know it now to be the result of popular entertainment, surprisingly enough. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Care Bears, Dark-Wing Duck... The list of cartoon characters who are animals goes on and on. Fact is, many of them have human appearance and personality, and are meant to embody the more positive aspects of OUR species. We're raised with those characters as little kids (when we're most influenced). This is installed in our heads at a young age, and then we grow up having an unnecessary sympathy toward furry non-humans, Combined with the foolish need to start revolutions whenever and wherever, groups like PETA (which incidentally is responsible for animal abuse itself) and the Animal Liberation Front (responsible for numerous acts of vandalism and terrorism towards scientific institutions) form and people start marching on streets like Nazis, even though they label animal shelters and disease research centers as Nazis.

It's all very backwards to me.
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on suffering [Aug. 29th, 2008|04:56 am]
Wise Tits

jesuismeursault
[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |pensivepensive]
[Current Music |nothing at the moment]

suffering is interesting. by this, i mean the concept, not the experience. if someone suffers some ill and then speaks openly about it (whether the person is hunting for pity or not is irrelevant), there always seems to be another person who feels the need to minimize that suffering by doing one of two things: either mentioning that there are other people (named or unnamed) who have suffered just as much if not worse, or by pointing out that he himself has suffered as much or more than the speaker. why is this? what is with this compulsion? isn't pain just pain, after all? does it need to be quantified? and, once quantified, does it then need to be compared to other pains and ranked accordingly? simply because there is a situation that is somewhat worse than another, does that invalidate the right of the person in the second situation to speak about a legitimate hardship?

a friend of mine from college told me about an incident where he foolishly mentioned losing his mother at twelve to cancer and how that had affected him as a teenager. he said he'd once been told by someone else that he didn't have a right to complain (he wasn't complaining, btw, just saying) because some people have lost both of their parents. now, while that is invariably true, was it absolutely necessary to bring up? is there some unspoken level of credibility that must be attained before once can speak about suffering?
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Human Consciousness (Free Will?) [Aug. 29th, 2008|12:16 am]
Wise Tits
d_h_belmont
We have the capacity to memorize things; our brain stores visual and audio stimulus.
We have the capacity to learn technical skills.
We have the ability to respond to stimulus...

But does everything we're capable of doing really give us "free will", or are all our actions the result of stimulus combined with programming forged by our memories and experiences?

Even something as simple as deciding whether or not you want a Pepsi or a Mountain Dew doesn't seem to be a "free choice". All the memories of having both drinks, combined with current mood and hunger levels, and countless pieces of stimulus would seem to push us into making a choice. Even an "on the whim" decision seems predetermined. Suppose I suddenly get a Diet Pepsi even though I don't like it. Taking into account the bland repetitive selctions of food available with a short selection of soft drinks available combined with a general feeling of restlessness and a desire for some sort of change, and then taking into account personality type, which was forged through a balance of genetics and a lifetime of experience, would seem to push me into making that decision into choosing that drink.

If someone calls you a "faggot", does your brain not light up all the mental connections your brain has with that word, it's definition, images of obnoxiously flamboyant men, past experiences of altercations where the word was uttered a few times, and with such an offensive remark, doesn't it go so far as to get the "flight or fight" mechanism ready to go?

I view our brains as little more than very complex computers, taking in countless stimulus 24 hours a day, processing it by running it through the collection of memories, skills, mentalities, and so forth, and producing a proper "if situation 'A' occurs, go with action 'B'" response to a situation much like the way a video game works, except with a near infinite number of "if, then" lines programmed in us, with an infinite amount of new lines to be programmed by the stimulus we bring in. Some might view that as a very depressing outlook on existance, but it really doesn't change anything.
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Irrational Fears [Aug. 28th, 2008|06:12 pm]
Wise Tits
you_lied
Who is to say that a fear is or isn't rational? Just because it's not something harmful, or because a majority of people are not afraid of something specific then when someone does end up being very afraid of said something specific all of a sudden it's irrational?

I am ridiculously afraid of ghosts, deep water, and haunted houses(like the entertainment kind around Halloween), and I mean RIDICULOUSLY afraid. All of these things can and have scared me to the point of crying, feeling sick, or throwing up. I couldn't really tell you why I'm so afraid of these things either. The issue with haunted houses I think goes back to when I was a kid, my mom would make me go in them and they scared me so bad as a child and I've never been able to kick that fear.

Anyway, why is that irrational? My brain must have it's reasons for why I'm afraid. Plus aren't we all different, it's like defining what or who is normal. Who is to say what's normal when we have 6 billion different individuals on the planet with their own thoughts and ideas.
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In The News Today [Aug. 28th, 2008|01:01 pm]
Wise Tits
d_h_belmont
Russian Prime Minster Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia to help our election tilt in favor of a certain candidate.

Before reading this today, I had heard from my dad that on some "liberal radio show", which he didn't mean in a derogitory manner by the way, that the conflict was being set up to help John McCain.

War matters typically help the Republican side. For some reason, people think they are safer when it comes to war matters by siding with a Republican. Of course, Iraq is a total mess for the George W. Bush and the Republican party, so why not start some shit in the European nation of Georgia to dredge up those classic Cold War fears about "THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!" After all, they whole "THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING!" schtick was ran into the ground and then some, which is a key factor in why they lost control of Congress in '06. People will still denounce a Democratic member as "a communist" (even when they have no idea what that actually means), so if that insult works, painting the Russians in a terrifying light might also be valid to the lowest common denominator of "undecided" voters.

So am I saying we started this stuff? I'm not saying either way, but I do think that staged or otherwise, it will probably help McCain a lot more than Obama.
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(no subject) [Aug. 26th, 2008|09:09 pm]
Wise Tits

hahahasyyke
I was just thinking about people who automatically assume that a job (besides the one they work, obviously) is just like that field is portrayed on screen. You know, being a doctor is obviously like Grey's Anatomy, or E.R. If I met an Asian surgeon, I might assume they're agressive, bitchy, and screwing their attending just like Sandra Oh in Grey's! But they wouldn't be, because this isn't T.V.

People sometimes ask me what it's like being a cocktail waitress, or DJ. These are things that I sometimes get asked:

Do you get hit on all the time by drunk guys?
Not nearly as much as you probably would think. It's a rare occasion, or just that one asshole - repeatedly.

Is it like the bar in Coyote Ugly/Cheers/Knocked Up?
No.

I'm not really complaining; these are exactly the types of questions I would ask if I weren't working in this field. It's like being a college student and having people ask what your major is. Or like when you're a hooker and people ask you what positions you do. It's not the most thought-provoking or interesting question, but it's relevant, logical, and really just something people feel obligated to ask so they can get to the next step in the conversation. Like "All right, then, I'll have a blow j."

Or in the case of the hooker, "What do you charge?"

Haha, you see what I did there? I made a funny.

(Sorry, I've started having to explain my jokes, because the people I work with don't "get" my humor. One of the waitresses kept dropping quarters and subsequently complained, "Man, I hate change!" To which I replied, "So, I guess you're not going to be voting for Obama then!..." - Crickets. Nothing. "'Cause, you know, he's all about change... pun... double entendre... humorous... no?)

Anyway, why wouldn't people realize that jobs aren't like those portrayed on screen? They know theirs isn't like what they've seen on TV or in movies, so why would they assume mine is?
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Most important event of the past 100 years? [Aug. 26th, 2008|07:03 pm]
Wise Tits
d_h_belmont
I will say right off the bat, I am mildly plagiarizing an essay I read on Writing.com several years back by an author by the name of “Kane Rowel”, though his piece, "The Gunshot That Killed 100 Milllion People" didn't delve much further than World War II...

That said, I want you, dear reader, to think of everything going on in the world today, from way of living, to technology, to war. All of the events of the past century can be traced down to a single gunshot by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrillo Princip.

In 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated by Princip, a Serbian nationalist. The event led to a break down of the fragile diplomatic relationship between Austria Hungry and Serbia, which caused the Austro Hungarians to retaliate against the Serbian kingdom. A war had broken out, but because the major nations of the world were allied with one nation or the other, they got pulled into this tiny conflict and it became the Great War.

Somehow, when the War ended and the Treaty of Versailles was created,  Germany was blamed for the conflict and had to pay massive war reparations; it destroyed their country. Additionally, the war gave the opportunity for Lenin and the Bolsheviks to over through the Russian monarchy and give rise to the Soviet Union and communism. After this war, the world order established after the Napoleonic Wars was gone forever. This war led to the creation of the League of Nations, which was sort of a prototype to the United Nations.

World War I was a direct cause of World War II, primarily because of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in post war Germany. Because of Hitler, countless Jews, Catholics, Communists, handicapped, (the list goes on for a while) were murdered in a genocidal campaign to conquer the world. From this war, the A-Bomb was developed, and Japan took two of those which effectively eliminated their status as a serious “empire”. Additionally, countless nations turned to democracies in post-war times, and the United States and the Soviet Union came out of the war as Super Powers. The United Nations succeeded the League of Nations and the state of Israel was created.

This, of course, leads right into the Cold War. Back when the Treaty of Versailles was being developed, a young Vietnamese man went to the French city to see how the treaty could help his country. He was promptly thrown out of the Palace of Versailles. This man decided to turn for help somewhere else- China, and communism… and that man was Ho Chi Minh. This would ultimately lead to what we know as the Vietnam War (though THAT war has roots tracing back to the 8th century if I‘m not mistaken). In addition to that, there was plenty of other conflicts that were Cold War related that used several third world nations as pawns. Because of this, lots of Islamist terrorists to this day, are using weapons the United States gave them to fight the Soviets twenty five years ago.

And of course, it was the attack on U.S. soil on September 11th that George W. Bush and his little buddies used to rally the public to invade Iraq, though Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden had no connections whatsoever…

But going back to the Cold War. Without that “war”, there never would have been a drive to reach the stars. There would have been no reason to have Sputnik I or Apollo 11. We were in a race with them, and in that race, we got a lot of technologies. Microwaves and cell phones are just a few of the countless things we have in our world today that came out of technologies from those days.

There you have it (summarized very poorly). Everything today, even Operation Iraqi Freedom, can be traced to that single assassination 94 years ago that could have very easily been forgotten over the years had it not been for a series of convoluted alliances.*

*Okay, I know world history is a HELLUVA lot more complicated than what I just painted it out to be, but I just wanted to come up with a bare bones outline that hopefully can be filled in with further discussion on this topic.
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Dangerous Thinking [Aug. 26th, 2008|02:01 pm]
Wise Tits
d_h_belmont
I've noticed a lot of people in general will consider certain "evil" people in history and even today as "stupid morons", which violates the basic rule of combat according to Sun Tzu, which is "Know your enemy as you do yourself and you shall always be victorious". To that end, I recently watched a fascinating program on Ted Kaczinsky, better known as "The Uni-bomber", on National Geographic. This is the guy who spend nearly 20 years in a shack in Montana building bombs and sending them to Universities. I was so fascinated by the way this guy's mind ticked, that I proceeded to read most of his "Uni-bomber Manifesto", which he kinda forced the media to print under the threat of more bombings, and while I don't agree with his methods, or the very core of his argument, I thought his commentary on the world in which we live in to be thought provoking and disturbing. I even agreed with some of it. Some people would think that's a bad thing, but remember it's a logical fallacy to assume an idea is bad because someone who is bad came up with it or agrees with it...

Anyway, I was discussing this at work with a number of my co-workers on our break, and one of my workers mumbled "Oh, he was an idiot.". To call Ted Kaczinsky an idiot shows a gross understanding of the Uni-bomber. By no means am I trying to say he was a great guy- he was a mass murderer, but as an eleven year old, he was already considered a genius. He skipped a few grades and went to Harvard. He was smarter than the FBI who was trying to chase him, and had it not been for his family turning him in when they realized the Manifesto matched the things he was known for writing, he would still be out there today blowing people up. The FBI's first "sketch" on this guy's personality was 100 percent wrong.

The same could be applied to Hitler, who, once again, was one of the worst individuals of humanity's history. I've heard people call him an idiot, too, but let's not forget this guy took a completely destroyed and bankrupt nation, and in less than a decade, came within a hair's width of taking over the world.

Or here's the current day example: Osama Bin Laden. Again, terrible person, mass murderer, but here's a guy who's been behind countless attacks, including September 11th, and the United States can't seem to figure out where the hell he's at! We're really going to call him stupid? He's very intelligent, and dangerous.

Now all of this isn't to say any of these men are "great", but I think to call them "stupid people" is dangerous thinking because it's a gross underestimation of your enemies strength and wit. If we confront our enemies with this smug overconfidence and this imagined ineptitude of who we're fighting, we'll be in for an unpleasant shock. What's to gain by thinking your enemy is stupid? Their ideas may be messed up and wrong and even stupid, but it doesn't hide the fact they're clever, otherwise, they wouldn't be such a threat to begin with.

I feel like I'm going in circles here, so I'll summarize...

To regard an enemy as "stupid" seems to be a typical mentality for most people.
To acknowledge an enemies' abilities and intelligence is not treason, but an honest assessment of what you're up against.
Overconfidence leads to quick defeat, something most people know, but don't seem to practice when it comes to these matters.

Am I on to something?
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Application! (I hate doing applications...) [Aug. 26th, 2008|01:44 pm]
Wise Tits
d_h_belmont
Hello, kids and kiddies!

I'm William. I thought this community would give me an opportunity to dig this unused LJ account out of mothballs and give me something to do. I love to delve into "deep conversations", so not being a part of this group would be something of a crime against myself, methinks. I think I could provide some welcome input to this community. I could probably always come up with something to talk about if the community goes quiet... do I need references on that?

PREPARE... to think.

(I don't think I'm that full of myself in real life, but I'm definitely this obnoxious.)
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