Monday, May 30, 2011

Evil religion / Atheist: Conclusion.

This is the very last post of anything remotely "High-intellectual." I'm tired, and I want to take a nap now. If you've been tracking the blogs of the last day, you don't need the disclaimer. If you haven't, this blog will make no sense to you.

However, if you've been paying attention, you probably already know where I've been going with all of the Evil religion and Atheist blogs.

My Conclusion: Culture makes people stupid, not religion.

Anthropology has whole bookcases dedicated to how society treats “the other.” The other can look different (xenotype), or act different (behavioral traits), but it's just plain different.

I was the worst of all possible worlds in grammar school. I was a nerd, and I was the fat kid, and I was beaten up a few times—I went from passive to aggressive, and things toned down. In high school, I was the loner, and I read, and I wrote song parodies (more on that much, much later), and I was the nerdy fat kid. I played psycho, and things toned down … up until it bit my in the ass.

In college, when I explained to one sociology professor who wanted to listen to “The stereotypes inherent in upper middle class white society,” the professor was shocked when I told her that I was a candidate to be a future serial killer. She was still in shocked after a classmate explained “Well, no offense, but he seems really smart, and he's really quiet. So....”

So, three levels of education, and I managed to be the outsider every time. Nothing to do with religion. You can beat up on three groups of people in New York: Catholics, smokers, and fat people, and I'm 2/3.

Atheists say that religion causes all of the bigotry and hatred in the world. I say that people in general suck, religion or no religion. That's called culture.

Look at the "Blood libel": it's in no one's religion. Check the Koran, Haditha, the Vatican, the Bible, it's not there. It's not anyone's doctrine. Yet it's all over the middle east, and it's out of medieval Europe, dispite Popes pulling their hair out over it for centuries (the Wikipedia article only mentions two: look up Rabbi David Dalin for a full list of Popes who have ulcers over Blood Libel morons)

Since the majority of people on the planet have not been atheists, there is no control group to prove your theory one way or another that an atheist society would be perfect, or in any way better.

Most of the professional atheists out there claim to be smarter, better, and more educated than anyone else. Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris say “We're scientists, we know what we're talking about.”

I say: You might be scientists, but you're practicing lousy science. You're making statements of fact out of theories. You can't prove it, you don't have a big enough control group for study. You're not anthropologists, and you wouldn't know a culture if you had yogurt tossed at you (microbiology joke, sorry).

Also, saying that “all atheists are smarter than you” also has issues. I mean, hell, there is a survey out there that says that most atheists have aspergers syndrome.

Should I take that study as gospel and say that Dawkins is an idiot savant? No.

Besides, Aspergers usually result in someone very intelligent, and very asocial; in the case of Matt, he's more socially well-adjusted than I am.
Although in the case of Dawkins, it would explain a few things as to the manner of his disputes … or he could be merely British, it's hard to tell.

In my evil religion post on Islam: the problems of the middle east turned out to be a culture that hasn't changed much since 300, and Nazis.

In my post on pederast priests, the problem also turned out to be cultural: the culture of any bureaucracy to not move its butt to adapt to a different solution to its problems....

As for the rest ... I'm not going to reiterate every argument I've made. I think I've bored you all quite enough.

Anyway .... be well, all.  I'm going to take a long, long nap.

Beat me up. Slander me. Whatever. However, use foul or abusive language, or anything that wouldn't get onto network tv, I will delete your comment ... after I wake up, certainly. If you dedicate one of your blogs to shredding me, feel free to post a link below, just spell my URL right.

Atheist complaint: Conform!

Disclaimer [ Blah Blah, Atheist problems with religion ... blah blah ... "high-intellectual" blog posts .... I'm borderline brain damaged at this point, so please check out previous blogs (literally, the one rght before this one, for the full disclaimer). Short version: this is a long-winded, overwritten blog post for theology nerds and egg heads. If you have no interest in that sort of thing, run -- Our most popular blogs are in the sidebar, as are the short stories, what this book is about, and we have entries on why anyone can enjoy this book, any politics involved, spytech, and even a section for fans of Sherlock Holmes and science fiction. If we don't have something you like ... wait five minutes.]

-How religion encourages conformity and non-doubt

You mean how like every culture encourages conformity?

Yes, because non-coformity is so encouraged by governments. Deviancy has always been rewarded everywhere at all times …

Atheist complaints: Random beliefs

{A while back, I asked Matt, friend of this blog, artist, atheist, and a few other things, to generate a list of what he found to be problematic with religion. He gave me a few.

I promised him I would use it. And I keep my promises

This is the last week I'm doing what my friend Jason calls "high-intellectual" blog posts. They are time consuming, draining, a lot of work, and I'm not sure they are at all entertaining. They've garnered some response, much of it hate mail.

My replies are long-winded, so this may take a few posts.

If you find yourself here by accident, or have no interest in the topic, I invite you to look around. Our most popular blogs are in the sidebar, as are the short stories, what this book is about, and we have entries on why anyone can enjoy this book, any politics involved, spytech, and even a section for fans of Sherlock Holmes and science fiction. If we don't have something you like ... wait five minutes. :)

Anyway, onto the complaint ....]

-The randomization of beliefs (i.e. stone gays to death, but adultery no longer means execution)

How very dogmatic. I don't know if this is an argument for one world religion (in which case, come to Rome,) or how everything is so darned regional / pastoral.

With the examples given, no one stones gays to death anymore, unless the rock throwers are in the back end of nowhere, and even in those cases …. Does anyone remember the last, most famous example? I believe it was Texas, in the late 1990s? Two idiots tied a young gay male to a tree and threw rocks at him. No one remembers that the motives in that case were not religious: it involved two psychos who were on a week-long, meth-fueled rampage, who capped their week off with a murder.

And stoning had ceased to be an issue in the Christian faith five seconds after the line “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Anti-theist complaints: Superiority complexes

[DISCLAIMER ...  I know, it's getting tiresome. Think about how I feel.

When Lent started, I figured I would do a whole bunch of "Snarky Theology" blog posts, followed by "Evil Religion" blogs. And, while I was at it, I asked Matt, friend of this blog, artist, atheist, and a few other things, to generate a list of what he found to be problematic with religion. He gave me a few. I promised him I would use it. And I keep my promises

This is the last week I'm doing what my friend Jason calls "high-intellectual" blog posts. They are time consuming, draining, a lot of work, and I'm not sure they are at all entertaining. They've garnered some response, much of it hate mail.

My replies are long-winded, so this may take a few posts.

If you find yourself here by accident, or have no interest in the topic, I invite you to look around. Our most popular blogs are in the sidebar, as are the short stories, what this book is about, and we have entries on why anyone can enjoy this book, any politics involved, spytech, and even a section for fans of Sherlock Holmes and science fiction. If we don't have something you like ... wait five minutes. :)

Anyway, onto the complaint ....]

-Each Faith's intrinsic superiority complex over all others

Oh, you mean like every other -ism on the face of the planet? Communism? Socialism? Leftism? Liberalism (by Francis Fukuyama)? Capitalism? Catholicism? Evangelicalism? Fundamentalism? Racism? Imperialism? Nationalism? Imperialism? Protestantism? Fascism? Radicalism? Totalitarianism? Atheism? Anti-theism?

Seriously, which one of the above says that they are not superior to everything and everyone?

Yes, atheism claims a superiority. It claims superiority over every religion. Atheism is so superior, Dawkins insists that religion is a form of child abuse. The only religion I've ever seen exercise that kind of superiority is in the Sudan, and that's more of a civil war than anything else.

If you are an atheist that does not believe it is superior to everyone else, please send a letter to Mr. Dawkins at your earliest convenience, and tell him he's a moron. Thanks.

I'm Catholic. While there are aspects of “superiority,” I'll going to refer you to my “You're going to Hell” blog post.

As for the rest … you don't need religion to have an intrinsic superiority complex. That's what nationalism is for. Or racism. Or evolutionary racism. Or phrenology..... long story, it was part of the whole Darwin / racism / imperialism trifecta.

Everyone's going to claim being superior over everyone else at some point or another. As the French. Or the British. Or any Generalismo in Latin America. Or Michael Moore. Or Christopher Hitchens.

Anti-theist complaints: Doctrine

[Disclaimer: When Lent started, I figured I would do a whole bunch of "Snarky Theology" blog posts, followed by "Evil Religion" blogs. And, while I was at it, I asked Matt, friend of this blog, artist, atheist, and a few other things, to generate a list of what he found to be problematic with religion. He gave me a few.

I promised him I would use it. And I keep my promises

This is the last week I'm doing what my friend Jason calls "high-intellectual" blog posts. They are time consuming, draining, a lot of work, and I'm not sure they are at all entertaining. They've garnered some response, much of it hate mail.

My replies are long-winded, so this may take a few posts.

If you find yourself here by accident, or have no interest in the topic, I invite you to look around. Our most popular blogs are in the sidebar, as are the short stories, what this book is about, and we have entries on why anyone can enjoy this book, any politics involved, spytech, and even a section for fans of Sherlock Holmes and science fiction. If we don't have something you like ... wait five minutes. :)

Anyway, onto the complaint ....]

Problem: The picking and choosing of doctrine from texts while ignoring others.

Without specific doctrine, that's going to be tough. Picking and choosing of doctrine …

Keep in mind that context applies a LOT. Not to mention culture plays a part....This is gonna take a while.

I think the best argument / example I can use are atheist Jews.

Anti-theist complaints: Indoctrination of children

[Disclaimer: When Lent started, I figured I would do a whole bunch of "Snarky Theology" blog posts, followed by "Evil Religion" blogs. And, while I was at it, I asked Matt, friend of this blog, artist, atheist, and a few other things, to generate a list of what he found to be problematic with religion. He gave me a few.

I promised him I would use it. And I keep my promises

This is the last week I'm doing what my friend Jason calls "high-intellectual" blog posts. They are time consuming, draining, a lot of work, and I'm not sure they are at all entertaining. They've garnered some response, much of it hate mail.

My replies are long-winded, so this may take a few posts.

If you find yourself here by accident, or have no interest in the topic, I invite you to look around. Our most popular blogs are in the sidebar, as are the short stories, what this book is about, and we have entries on why anyone can enjoy this book, any politics involved, spytech, and even a section for fans of Sherlock Holmes and science fiction. If we don't have something you like ... wait five minutes. :)

Anyway, onto the complaint ....]

Indoctrination of children

I'm half with atheists on this one. Evangelicals run Jesus camps, which are really freaking creepy. I think “Children of the Corn.”

However, I know someone who went to a Jesus camp, skipped out on all of the camp stuff, and is a believer despite those particular schmucks.

Anti-theist complaints: Mormons, gays

When Lent started, I figured I would do a whole bunch of "Snarky Theology" blog posts, followed by "Evil Religion" blogs. And, while I was at it, I asked Matt, friend of this blog, artist, anti-theist, and a few other things, to generate a list of what he found to be problematic with religion. He gave me a few.

I promised him I would use it. And I keep my promises

This is the last week I'm doing what my friend Jason calls "high-intellectual" blog posts. They are time consuming, draining, a lot of work, and I'm not sure they are at all entertaining. They've garnered some response, much of it hate mail.

My replies are long-winded, so this may take a few posts.

If you find yourself here by accident, or have no interest in the topic, I invite you to look around. Our most popular blogs are in the sidebar, as are the short stories, what this book is about, and we have entries on why anyone can enjoy this book, any politics involved, spytech, and even a section for fans of Sherlock Holmes and science fiction. If we don't have something you like ... wait five minutes. :)

Anyway, onto the complaint ....

-Mormon (and other sects) mistreatment of homosexuals

Mormons, I hate these guys … I've been to Utah, and the Stepford Wives effect is creey as all hell.
However, I think that religion has nothing to do with the overall question...

Bear with me.

I'm going to define "mistreatment" rather loosely. I've heard mistreatment as being everything from stoning to simply not being married in a Catholic church. I'm going to go with the lightest definition of mistreatment, where you can define it as simply being considered "other."

Let's start by removing religion from the equation, shall we?

Anti-theist complaints: Literal Interpretations

When Lent started, I figured I would do a whole bunch of "Snarky Theology" blog posts, followed by "Evil Religion" blogs. And, while I was at it, I asked Matt, friend of this blog, artist, atheist, and a few other things, to generate a list of what he found to be problematic with religion. He gave me a few.

I promised him I would use it. And I keep my promises

This is the last week I'm doing what my friend Jason calls "high-intellectual" blog posts. They are time consuming, draining, a lot of work, and I'm not sure they are at all entertaining. They've garnered some response, much of it hate mail.

My replies are long-winded, so this may take a few posts.

If you find yourself here by accident, or have no interest in the topic, I invite you to look around. Our most popular blogs are in the sidebar, as are the short stories, what this book is about, and we have entries on why anyone can enjoy this book, any politics involved, spytech, and even a section for fans of Sherlock Holmes and science fiction. If we don't have something you like ... wait five minutes. :)

Anyway, onto the complaint ....

-The fostering of extremism through literal interpretations of religious texts

To start with, I have a problem with this argument. Consider for a moment that a small minority of any religion has extremists in it. However, in Islam, when 10% of the population isn't that large … there are about a billion Muslims on the planet, so that gets blown out of proportion. Also, see the article.

I can't paint everyone with this brush. In the Catholic church, literalism was a heresy that was stamped out within a few hundred years. By the time St. Augustine, one of the earliest Church Fathers, came on the scene, it was already dead. It got resurrected later on.

So, I should probably jettison it now and move on. The Vatican already did. But I never knew when to leave well enough alone.

Science and Religion … Stupid Catholics.

Every time I hear that all of religion is against science, I just sigh.

They want to cite Galileo. You can read about him in my evolution article. Short version: Considering that he found himself on trial by insulting the Pope, he was lucky, and merely put under house arrest. The charges basically amounted to being a jerk without a license … I should note that Richard Dawkins has such a license. He's British.

Well, I'm Catholic. I think I'm part of the only religion that has it's own observatory. Two of them. One of them is parked outside the Pope's summer home of Castel Gandalfo. We also have a very odd blessing … in 1924, the Church has a blessing for a seismograph.

My church is weird.

Then they whine: evolution!!!  I reply: the Church gave it its "blessing" in 1926 -- meaning that if it is true, that's merely the mechanism of God's action, and it's perfectly okay for Catholics to believe in it.

The major cry about religion being against science amounts to a cry of “Oh, what about embryonic stem cells. Waaaahhhh!!!!!” The short version on embryonic stem cells is that they have been portrayed as a potential miracle cure for practically everything from cancer to paraplegia, and the evil religious people are against it, because all religious people are against science, and progress, etc.

The stated position of most religions I've kept up on has been “Can we have a scientific advancement that doesn't involve killing infants in utero? Thanks.”

However.... Considering that, in 2007, Kyoto University researcher Shinya Yamanaka has already been able to transform skin cells into any other type of cell, I don't think stems cells are really relevant, do you? (Nature, June 6, 2007).

But, what do I know? I'm only the stupid Catholic. Richard Dawkins says that all religious people are stupid, and Dawkins is an educated man.

Let's go through a brief history of scientific research. However, I have a little list … actually, it's a long, long list, and a good chunk of them are here.

I think I'll cover the big names to start with. Below the break

Evil Religions: Atheism

[As I said in the preface, not everything here is as is appears to be. Read the damn blog first, thanks.]

Let's talk about atheists for a moment.

Some really militant atheists like to talk about how evil religion is.... They are generally referred to as anti-theists: not only is there a God, but anyone who believes in God is someone to be wary of / someone who is a danger to the human race. Religion for them is the source of all evil, makes people believe in fairy tales, goes after homosexuals, etc. We've covered a lot of these in prior articles.

How would things look in an atheist society? Better? Worse?

Let me start by being totally, utterly, and completely unfair. Let's look at how large bodies of atheists treat some of the same topics. We have four, count 'em, four large nations that have completely and totally eschewed religion.

Ten Commandments of Atheism

If you look at the group of professional atheists, who I will generally refer to as the Dawkins-Hitchens crowd, they like to say that they're better than everyone else, because they're moral for no good reason, other than the fact that “it's what's right.” They aren't beholden to any sky daddy, they don't need no stinking afterlife, they're just plain good.

At the other extreme, atheists have been called ethical parasites. They can't come up with their own ethical code, so they leach off of the customs established by religious codification of morality and ethics. They can't come up with a standard of right and wrong, so, therefore, they mindlessly ape those around them and call themselves perfect.

… I'm not with either of them.

Evil Religions 2: Baby-raping Catholic Priests.

Finn's Law: Never Attribute to Malice What Can be Equally Attributed to Stupidity.
[Preface to the evil religion blog posts is here.]
I mentioned a while ago that some moron threatened me because I even implied that someone out in the universe could be more corrupt than the Catholic Church. I didn't defend anyone, didn't consider defending anyone. I merely posted some statistics from John Jay University and the Department of Education.

Objection: “The Catholic Church was abusing children in the 1950s” …
Answer: Were there priests abusing children in the 1950s? Yes. Was it the entire church? No. The church figured it could always be handled “in house.” Let's ship them away, let's put them away from any temptation, let's put them in the drunk tank to “dry out” for a few months. Then they'll be better. They'll be fixed.

Why would they do this? Why would anyone believe something that stupid? Aside from the fact that it was the 1950s?


I'm serious. The Church relied on medical professionals, on "science," instead of listening to one of their own priests, who told them to boot their asses to the curb.

Father Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of a group known as “AA for priests” (link above), noticed in 1952 that abusive priests were not being “cured,” and suggested firing them. The Church overruled him, and relied instead on psychologists. Even Boston Cardinal Bernard Law sent pederasts to psychologists for screening and treatment, and got clinical approval to put them back on the pulpit.

He got approval! By psychologists!

You see, a perfectly medieval church would have settled this the easy way. A whole bunch of villagers could have taken out the local pederast and thrown him in the river after a whole bunch of Unpleasant Things had been done to his body. But nooooo, Rome had to rely on "science" (psychology is a Bachelors of Arts degree, not of science). The Church was perfectly modern about it. Perfectly understanding about it …

And if anyone had just asked my opinion, someone would have been served an enema of hydrofluoric acid…

Actually, Ireland had the best response. One professor of mine, back at St. John's University, complained about a pederast who had been shipped “out of the way” from the Republic of Ireland. He shook his head and muttered repeatedly about how shameful it was. The pederast in question had been shipped to Belfast … the highly-violent, gun-toting, Catholic-killing slums of Belfast.

When I asked if anyone had heard from the priest ever again, the professor said, "Not that I know of, why?"

I didn't have the heart to explain to this fellow that they weren't “hiding” him; it's as close as they could get to an execution.

Anyway …

To get back to the conversation in general, I'm not sure how many people understood the concept of 100% recidivism in the 1950s. And I'm not sure how many do today. For example, I have a friend. He had been abused in grammar school, by a father-son pederasty team. My friend lives in Great Neck, New York, and ever since the bastards were put away, he and his fellow victims have been ridiculed, lambasted, accused of lying, of being bribed, of everything under the sun short of being serial killers. He still lives with this, today ... in secular Great Neck ... and all of this was over two public school teachers. Now, tell me, what would someone like him have gone through in 1950s America if the abusers were priests? Tell me the traumas wouldn't have been compounded with public attention …?

And if someone asked my opinion…

Moving on.

Objection: “Yes, but priests are still being moved around!”

Answer: Again, you mean the ones that aren't thrown in jail because the Catholic church threw them there? We can go for two possible answers. As I said above, priests within a closed system are protecting their own bad apples ... like Doctors and Policemen have been known to do ... and politicians, and lawyers, and most other human organizations on the planet ....

However, my thought? I suspect the answer is bureaucratic inertia.

Nope, I'm dead serious.

Consider: most priests now being hauled away in handcuffs entered the priesthood before psychological screenings were in place. All of their bosses entered when the accepted method of dealing with abusers was to send them to therapy. The whole upper administration is populated by people who were taught that psychology could fix these offenders.

Cardinal Law, mentioned above, is a prime example …

And, I want to ask this one more time: If these people were sent to shrinks, what freaking moron declared them fit for duty?

Finn's Law: Never Attribute to Malice What Can be Equally Attributed to Stupidity.

Objection: “Yes, but priests are all baby-rapers!”

I love this argument too. Why?

The biggest number I've ever seen on pederasty in the church is a possible 8% of priests of OF THE LAST FIFTY YEARS. It's probably 4% or less, according to John Jay University, who did a study on this... click on this link to find it.

Let's look a little closer.
About 4 percent of U.S. priests ministering from 1950 to 2002 were accused of sex abuse with a minor, according to the first comprehensive national study of the issue.

The study said that 4,392 clergymen—almost all priests—were accused of abusing 10,667 people, with 75 percent of the incidents taking place between 1960 and 1984. [Author's note: before psychological screening was in place]

During the same time frame there were 109,694 priests, it said.....

The study, released in Washington Feb. 27, [2003] was commissioned by the U.S. bishops' National Review Board, ....

The study said the sharp decline in abuse incidents since 1984 coupled with the declining percentage of accusations against priests ordained in recent years "presents a more positive picture" than the overall statistics.

It said that 68 percent of the allegations were made against priests ordained between 1950 and 1979, while priests ordained after 1979 accounted for 10.7 percent of the allegations......

Regarding substantiated allegations against priests in ministry at the time, the most common action by church authorities was to send the priest for medical evaluation or treatment, said the study.

Although most of the incidents occurred before 1985, two-thirds of the allegations have been reported since 1993 .....

Hmm, so as time goes on, there seem to be fewer and fewer of these bastards. Funny that.

So, the US Bishops go to a secular authority in criminal justice, and make them look through all of their records. It's sort of hard to pull the wool over the eyes of people who work at John Jay University. And I suspect most Bishops get up around noon.

Trying to make a claim that there are sooo many hidden -- keep in mind, would you, that the 10,667 number is the number of victims that they are accused of abusing. Not convicted. Not investigated and cleared. Simply the accusations. Who keeps paperwork like that?

Welcome to the Catholic Church, we keep records on everything. Even accusations.

Objection: So what, why are so many pederasts priests?
Let me think, why would child molesters try to get into the priesthood … for the same reason they would be camp counselors and teachers, easy access. Protestants have a worse rate of pederasts, and the teachers…

Ah, teachers...

Statistics professor Charol Shakeshaft, of the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, estimates the between 1991 and 2000, 290,000 students were sexually abused by public school teachers and personnel. One in every ten American children has been sexually abused at school. And only 1% of allegations were investigated by the school board.

Catholic priests have had 10,667 allegations (not convictions, allegations) between 1950 and 2002. Of those allegations, 3% ended in a guilty verdict. 3%. So, hmm, at the end of the day, out of 4,392 accused priests, only about 131 were convicted over anything...

About 131 schmucks have been used as a stigma on an entire religion. Hmmm....

Now, obviously, some accusations turned out to be false, and some turned out to be not proven .... and let's assume that some were never reported, because some aren't. So, let's assume these numbers cancel each other out, and stick with 10,667 victims.

So, wait -- in nine years, public school teachers have abused twenty-nine times the number of children than an entire profession of priests over the course of sixty years?

On average, abusive priests have been accused of going after 810 kids per year, but the public schools have assaulted 32,000 per annum

Wow, Catholic Conspiracies? Really? Rome has nothing on the teachers union....
Oh, and you will notice that it is unfair, and psychotic to make these arguments. Last week, we had a teacher note that by merely looking at the statistics is unfair and misleading, and worthy of someone in North Korea.

And he's right.

And blaming any group for what less than 1% of it's members have done over the course of five decades is just as unfair, and just as misleading.

Objection: “Yes, but priests abuse so many … ”
At the end of the day, do you know how much Catholic priest pederasty count for the worldwide crimes of pederasty? 1%. They account for one percent of all sexually abused children on the planet. And most of that is done by straight men who are married to the mother of their victims.

The priesthood, the Church, everyone, is raked over the coals because a minority of their priests are scumbags who should be set on fire, all of whom came in before psychology was able to screen for them in the priesthood.

Proper psychological the screenings were in place by the early 1990s, and we haven't had many, if any, problems with anyone who had been ordained after that. A proper system for reporting and investigating this crime was only recently established around the late 1990s, by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who now goes under another name. The Pope. And he's been rather pissed about the whole thing. John Paul II was also annoyed, but his indignation was limited since he was busy dying.

The only reason anyone knows about the Catholic priesthood and their scumbags is because the Catholic Church keeps record of everything, so these bastards can be hunted down.

Hmm ... Before psychological screenings, and there were only 131 psychopaths let through. That's not bad.

Granted, thanks to "medical advice," some thought they could be "cured."

Never Attribute to Malice What Can be Equally Attributed to Stupidity.

Objection: “Yes, but they should all be taken out and dealt with harshly.”
Oh, I'm an even bigger proponent of harsh treatment than anybody. See above for hydrofluoric acid. In fact, I would say “let's out and hunt down and murder every last one of the bastards, without trial.” My way would be to introduce painful methods of harm that would be recorded, and later shown to terrorists and Guantanamo Bay, and the terrorists would be given an option: this, or waterboarding.

But that's me. And I am a moderately deranged writer, who channels homicidal tendencies into novels, and I'm also the proud owner of a “Waterboarding Instructor” t-shirt.

But, courts and laws should be fair. We can agree to that, right? I mean, hell, if we wanted to, we could sign a law, and rid all statutes of limitations on all pederasts, forever. Period. I'm for that, how about you? Are you for that? Why not? Well, it doesn't matter, because no one listens to us …

Here's my problem. You have folks in the ACLU who cry out against pederast priests, and “lets go after them at every conceivable opportunity, no matter how old they are, or how old their crimes are”….

And they represent the North American Man-Boy Love Association at the same time. The motto of NAMBLA: Eight is too Late.


You know what? Let's say the atheists are right. Let's say we get rid of all the churches on the entire planet. Let's get rid of the Catholic church.

Let all of the pederasts go into public school teaching, that way, they'll never get caught.

Now, if I were some people, I could take a look at the 32,000 abused children a year, and I could twist it, and I would say “Let's burn down the public schools, and shoot all the teachers.” This is more or less the logic I have seen applied to the Catholic Church in this regard..... but that logic is stupid, misleading, and psychotic. More than I am, anyway.

But, since I am a far more reasonable person than those nut cases, can I suggest that professions where children are easily accessible will always have problems, because pederasts will always try to get into those institutions, and it's hard to screen everybody?

But, for the record, I'm sending my kid to Catholic school. Or home schooling. Because my children have a better shot of being struck by lightning than being abused by a Catholic priest. And, in the occasion of a priest or Catholic school teacher abusing my kid, I know that the New York Times will come to my defense should he be doused in gasoline and set on fire.

At the end of the day, I think I can summarize my argument as follows: Doctors kill more people per year than car crashes, yet we still go to them. Some psychos gamed a bureaucracy that's slow to adapt, only the bureaucracy is made up of priests. It is an invalid argument to say that just because a small percentage were corrupt, and some were too stupid to know how to deal with them, every one of them is just as corrupt. Like every bureaucracy, it's slow and it's stupid. And .... everyone with me now ....

Never Attribute to Malice What Can be Equally Attributed to Stupidity.
The entire scandal is a fabrication – not that children were abused, but that the Church “did nothing.” When problems first appeared in the 1950s, Church officials consulted psychologists, who “treated” the accused and declared them cured. The priests who grew up with this method of dealing with pederasts were officials when the later scandals broke. Even Cardinal Law of Boston sent abusers to psychological therapy.

The true scandal is that the therapists were not sued, then hung, drawn and quartered for recommending that these priests be allowed back out among the general public.

Pope John Paul II did not let abusive priests go free under his watch. After the 1980s scandal, new screenings were put in place to keep new abusers from entering. When the second scandal broke at the start of the century, he had Cardinal Ratzinger establish a system for investigating these crimes. The problems of the scandals started when the Church broke from tradition – tradition would have had these priests immediately thrown out. Medieval tradition would have defrocked them, assuming the church could get to these priests before the local townspeople. When the Church tried a “modern” cure, that is when things started to go awry. Ironically, John Paul II was also criticized during his life for being too traditional in his thinking. We should be grateful that he was.

And, below you can see all of the rules and regulations the Church now has for stopping predator priests.

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Atheists are Right." or: Jesus Freaks Scare Me.

Atheists have a point … or some of them do, anyway.

When originally looking at Marx, or Nietzsche, I figured that they had no idea what they were talking about. I do not use my Deity as a drug. I don't hold onto an image of someone being tortured to death on a set of 2x4s because I'm afraid of the dark. I don't use my faith as an excuse to not think, in fact, just the opposite.

I can give you reasons for my beliefs. I could tell you I think there's a God because of this thing called causality (IE: cause and effect … what's the cause of the Big Bang?). I can tell you I believe in an historical figure called Jesus, because there are records from that time period. There is more evidence for a carpenter named Jesus from Nazareth than there is for Hannibal of Carthage waging war against the Roman Empire (Hannibal was only written about a hundred years later, Jesus from the same generation, and was noted by Roman authorities).

I can give a bunch of reasons why I believe different elements of my faith, but as I've said before, I'm not here to convert one single person. Educate, sure, convert, no.

I'm relatively certain that I would not change one element of my life if I were an atheist. So, Marx, Nietzsche, sorry if I've disabused you 19th century pinheads of any fantasies you have.

Unfortunately, as I'm exposed to more of the world, I have to admit that atheists have a few points.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Evil Religions 1: Allahu Akbar.

An evil religion blog post.

When I first proposed the "Evil Religions" series of blogs, I figured I would make it ironic. You may all remember the "first" Evil Religion post back on April 1st. This is the real one.

Before you get your panties in a twist, I warned readers of this blog quite some time ago that there would be a series of “Evil Religion” blog posts, and that it wouldn't be what you think it is. Guess what, it's still not going to be what you think it is. Read the rest of this preface here.

Now, let's start with our first “Evil Religion.”  The following can be footnoted in the works of Bernard Lewis, David Dalin, Ralph McInerny, or Roy Schoeman’s “Salvation is from the Jews

The Middle East has a problem, and it's not Islam. It's their culture... which is also not Islam.

Yes, sorry, hate to break it to all of you, the culture of the Middle East was not substantially altered by The Prophet. Mainly because there were no real fundamental building blocks for the culture to be altered …

The trouble with the Middle East, in part, can be traced to the Nazis.

No, I am not being allegorical, but literal.

If you're a newcomer to this blog, you may not have heard of the term “Hitler’s Pope”: that Eugenio Pacelli, aka Pope Pius XII, worked with, for, or around Hitler in support of the final solution of the Holocaust.

What I'm almost certain you never hear about is what has been labeled Hitler’s Mufti.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Preface: All Religions are Evil, Muahahaha.

No, they're not, but why be picky?

Before you get preemptively annoyed, I warned readers of this blog quite some time ago that there would be a series of “Evil Religion” blog posts, and that it wouldn't be what you think it is.

Guess what, it's still not going to be what you think it is.

I am sick and tired of the ignorant Bill Maher's of the world automatically blaming religion for everything wrong in the world. Guess what, Bill, people will still be stupid, with or without religion. I'd even make a case that people are dumber without religion, unless they replace it with philosophy – and there are fewer philosophy scholars than there are theologians.

The atheists I know personally are better people than I am, but then again, they tend to think; which is more than I can say for Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, or Bill Maher. I'll see if I can slap those three around at some point—since, let's face it, atheism is a religion too, and they want to be the high priests when they grow up.

I would include Christopher Hitchens in here, if I could take the man seriously. Most of his arguments are anecdotal, personal rants that are more about him than about theology or religion. It's less about atheism, and more about him being an obnoxious Brit ... which is redundant to me (I'm mostly Irish by background, I have to make fun of the British. I think it's in my contract somewhere.)

By the way, for the record, the only atheists I intend to drag into this mess are professional atheists, like Dawkins, Harris, or Maher. Because they make a living off of it. Because, in some parts of their philosophy, they really should know better, and because they're jerks.

Thus endeth the preface.  The war starts soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rapture: Hawking says there is no Heaven. Good.

Last week, high priest of atheism Stephen Hawking said there was no Heaven. He couldn't find it, and couldn't prove it was there. Therefore, there isn't any.


Why good? Well, before I answer that, I should point out that Hawking also said that he couldn't prove Heaven wasn't there, which is honest of him. Considering that Heaven, should it exist, is a metaphysical location, should Dr. Hawking find anything resembling Heaven, I would be seriously worried.

It's sort of like if someone could point to a box and say "There's God."

I'm sorry, but for something to claim to be my deity, it would have to be unlimited in scope... ie: God doesn't fit in a box.

Besides, Hawking is not in the religion business, no matter how many ways he tries to interject himself into the matter. Were he to fall back on a supernatural explanation for anything, that would be bad science. God doesn't fit into an equation, can't be experimented on, tested, retested, or submitted to any version of any scientific method.

For example, there's the Big Bang. There is evidence for such an explosion to kick-start the universe. Communications satellites have picked up signals that are, in essence, "echoes" of the Big Bang. However, the amount of things that we know about the big bang aren't accurate; most of what we know about it is supposition. People have theorized about what happened based on the results: as in "in order for X to have happened, Y must have occured at Z seconds within the event itself."

If any scientist says "We think there's a God, because we can't figure it out otherwise," that is a cheat. That isn't science. The best a scientist can get away with is "It looks like a bloody miracle, but give us time, we'll figure it out." Using God as a placeholder in a theory is cheating.

However, in the case of Hawking, I object when he injects his atheism into his science.

Hawking has come up with several theories on how the universe started; from what I can recall, all of them throw out the Big Bang. I think the simplest way for me to explain it would be to say that the universe is a self-sustaining temporal loop where the Universe simply goes and starts itself repeatedly...

I think I heard that theory on Star Trek once, only they made it sound more believable.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Twitter Trolls: Writing in the Electronic Age

Should you want to become a writer, you're going to have to live with the Internet. You're already on the net, since you're reading this, but if you're just a casual user, get ready for culture shock. There are nut jobs all over the Internet. Normal, reasonable people, added to the Internet, seem to become quite psychotic. And I don't mean a little nuts -- because that can be any Friday afternoon after a busy week and you're stuck in rush hour -- I mean frothing at the mouth rabid, violently deranged.

If you want to go into writing, the Internet will be your friend. And your worst enemy. Probably at the same time. You will need it to sell your book. Interviews, book tours, podcasts, guest blogs, book reviews, all of it, are done online. It will be a valuable tool. Statistics seem to indicate that casual viewers of your material will not comment, one way or another. I have posted some stories from the blog for A Pius Man on another website, and have been rewarded with some glowing reviews of my work. One story got me three reviews in a matter of hours -- but only after nearly two thousand people had already read the story.

On this blog, some of the more viewed blog posts have come with people who have seriously, seriously hated me and everything I said. See the Lent post, if you don't believe me.

But, people are complicated: You could, for example, look at Matt's website. Matthew Funtime, artist for all of the good artwork on this blog, is an atheist. And I don't mean the casual "I don't believe in God, thanks, bye" sort of atheist. He's a bit of a die hard. And, if you look at his posts on religion, you might think he falls into the above rubric. He really doesn't. Unlike some people, who are reasonable until you lodge a disagreement, Matt seems to be in full Keith-Olberman-without-his-medication-mode to start with. However, if you lodge a simple, civil disagreement, he will politely disagree with you, and have a conversation.

Matt is a sane, reasonable person if you are a sane, reasonable person.

There are some that aren't so sane....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Neil Gaiman, Minnesota, and Writer's Mistakes.

Writers make mistakes.

This is probably not a good topic to discuss on a writer's blog, but it's the truth. And I try to serve the truth as often as possible without getting myself into even more trouble than I find naturally. People can learn from mistakes, even if those mistakes are performed by other people.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchNeil Gaiman is a British author with a couple of novels to his name, and several tv episodes. I only enjoyed two works by him – Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book. The one other book of his I truly enjoyed is called Good Omens, and there is nothing he can say or do to prove to me that Terry Prachett didn't take over the book entirely.

Recently, Mr. Gaiman (I prefer to pronounce it Guy-mun, not “Gay-man”) spoke at a Minnesota public library. He made a four-hour public appearance, for which he was paid $45,000 dollars.

Yes, he made over $10,000 per hour.

Harlan Ellison, an author who has been writing since the dawn of time … or at least the dawn of modern science fiction … makes $10,000 for an entire convention appearance, and Gaiman isn't half as interesting as Ellison. Trust me, I've met Ellison, and I've seen Gaiman.

A Minnesota politician has referred to Gaiman as a “pencil-necked weasel-thief” for walking off with that much money for a measely four hours.

Gaiman, in his defense, has said that he wanted to charge far less. The library claimed that the money was earmarked for library events, and the earmark expiration date was almost up. They could either use the money, or lose it. So, he took the money, and gave some to charity, some to his agent, etc.

Now, after the politician made noise, Gaiman has turned around, and started exchanging insults with Minnesota, at least on his Facebook page, as he tries to defend his honor (or honour, if you wish to go British). And he's whining that he's being put on a Republican “hate list”....

Now, I don't know about you, but there's something wrong about the whole thing.

For instance, should I ever become interesting enough to be invited anywhere to speak, I'm going to wonder at being offer forty-five grand.

I can imagine the conversation going as follows.

“Hey, we really liked your book, A Pius Man. We want you to come speak here. We'll give you $10,000 an hour. Please?”
Me: [Blink, blink, blink.] “How much?”
“About $45K. Is that not enough?”
Me: “I didn't think I was that interesting. Why $45K?”
“Because that's our event budget. We have to use it, or we're going to lose it.”
Me: “By 'lose it,' do you mean it will spontaneously combust? Fall down a rabbit hole and disappear? Turn to ash?”
“No, the state will just take it back.”
Me: “So, gee, you can either give me all of the taxpayer's money that you still have in your budget, or you can actually let the taxpayers actually have it back? Gee, I'm so happy I can give you an excuse to spend money for the sole purpose of spending money, in the middle of a major recession. How about this: get stuffed. I want nothing to do with you idiots.”
But, now, Neil Gaiman is the persecuted one. Huh. Really? One, it's Minnesota, how many people would know anything was up if it weren't for Gaiman's replies? I know I wouldn't. Two, this sounds like the library wanted to burn through the cash it had, and claim "We used our event budget this year, give us the same next year."
So, an open letter to Neil ....

Dear Mr. Gaiman.

I know you're not from the United States, so let me give you some pertinent information about Minnesota.

Number one: Minnesota is odd. This is a state that gave the position of governor to a former pro-wrestler named Jesse Ventura. It also made a clown one of their senators – a man named Al Franken.

In terms you can understand: Politically, Minnesota is Lewis Carroll country. They have fallen down a rabbit hole, and they have have yet to come out again. These people make Wonderland seem reasonable.

Number two: You took the money. I don't care what you did with it, you took taxpayer money. In the middle of a recession. You claim you would have attended the event for far, far less. Did they make you take it? Did they hold you up at gunpoint and force a check on you? I don't care how you redistributed the cash, this was taxpayer money. If the public library couldn't burn through it in the time allotted, that was their problem.

Didn't you think it odd that a public library paid you more money than bigger talents would get for an entire science fiction convention? They used you to aid and abet government waste in a recession. You were an excuse to burn cash. Why? Best guess: In all likelihood, if the public library didn't spend the money, their budget next year would have been cut to match what they spent this year.

Number three: You're Neil Gaiman. Why are you getting into the muck and mire with hacks from Minnesota? Why? You did nothing illegal. Some Minnesotan called you names … highly unoriginal names … and you, you poor widdle baby, are up in arms over it. You declare yourself on a Republican “hate list.” Really? You're going to play the Nixon card? Let's avoid the fact that there must be more than one person for there to be a list. Also, just because the politician is a Republican, you're not a target of the Republican National committee. You're not Bill Clinton; there is no vast, right wing conspiracy out to get you. As far as I can tell, there's just one guy – one guy who you have decided to make far more interesting by engaging with him.

You, sir, are a writer. You should have a thicker skin than this.

In conclusion … What the hell are you doing? While I question the wisdom of taking the cash, and thus exposing yourself to this idiocy, you are now actively diving into the muck and mire that is the cesspool of Minnesota politics. Do you think that a guy from Minnesota will affect your popularity in any way? If you hadn't decided to engage, I probably would have never heard of the quote, the politician, and I might have been safe from hearing anything about Minnesota until the next time Al Franken ran for political office.

This isn't your problem. Whoever paid you the money “just to get rid of it” shouldn't have burned through the money because it was there. That person should be fired. While I question your wisdom in taking the cash, you did nothing against the law. Why are you defending yourself against a gnat?

Stop playing silly buggers with rejects from the madhouse. Just tell these idiots that you didn't set the price, and if they're going to insult you, tell them to hire Terry Prachett as their speechwriter.

Thank you.

PS: The only Republican I know who may have an opinion on you is President George W. Bush -- and that's only because he liked Babylon 5: a show you wrote for.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Writing Rant: Cliches you may have never noticed.

I suspect that this, at the end of the day, qualifies as a rant. But it's a rant about writing, so I think this makes for an acceptable blog post. Comment if you think it doesn't.


I live in a family of readers. We tend to write TV episodes as we watch them on television. Obviously, we record everything, otherwise we'd never hear a word. Sometimes, the writers out-think us, sometimes we like our endings better than the ones on the screen. And then, sometimes, we catch only an image, and we sigh, and we know exactly where everything starts to go downhill...

Have you ever wandered into a TV show, and without knowing anything of the story thus far, a mere thirty seconds can tell you more than you wanted to know? In fact, you know so much from that brief glance, you can, without any hesitation, write the entire episode?

This is pretty much how it goes in our house whenever we see almost any Christian clergyman on television. If it's some sort of religious figure, he's the murderer / pederast / psycho / bad guy. In fact, if there's a guest star who shows up as a priest, the only way my family is surprised is if the priest is not guilty of something. Also, if there's a choice between an old-fashioned, grouchy priest, and a hip, young good-looking priest filled with charisma, we know whodunit—the old guy, because killers are never charismatic, are they?

Now, unless someone can correct me, this rule only applies to some variety of Christian group, but, more often than not, it's a Catholic priest. Even on the television show 24, where Muslims terrorists were involved (literally) every other season for the first six years, no Imams were involved. I have never seen a Rabbi involved in a crime anywhere on television.

Under the heading of “these and other stupid things,” there are some interesting facts.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Osama's death. One week later.

If you are sick and tired of listening to anything to do with Osama bin Laden, I recommend my short story from Saturday, "One Way to Stay Out of Jail." It has action, humor, and staying one step ahead of both cops and robbers.  Enjoy.

Now, onto this week ......

As more and more details leak out about Osama bin Laden's death, the situation becomes more, um, interesting.

I will, for the moment, ignore conflicting reports.  One report had Osama using a wife for a human shield. Another said he was simply shot outright, and the wife was still alive. We had help from Pakistan. Pakistan knew nothing about it. Pakistan supports our efforts, Pakistan threatens to blow us out of the sky if we ever do that again .....  One report by Eric Holder said that bin Laden's assassination was in "national self-defense." Bin Laden wasn't olding launch codes to a nuclear arsenal, and, to some accounts, didn't even have a weapon inside the mansion he was living in. If this was "national self defense," it must have been a "preemptive strike."  Or it was simply an assassination. So, we'll see exactly how the details shape up in the long run.

Fun Facts: Assassination

When I say assassination, I don't mean that as a derogatory term. There is a defense in Texas that is known as "he needed killing." I'm relatively good with that idea. I'm going to cry no tears for bin Laden. I personally believe all life is sacred up to the point when one person desecrates that sanctity. I don't care if you call it the code of Hammurabi, justice, revenge, or retribution (meaning "to repay," or "to pay someone what they are owed," or "payback"). My preference, as stated last week, is that we might have taken bin Laden alive. He had intelligence we could have found a use for.

However, I think justice was served. As I noted last week, Osama himself would have been put to death under Koranic law, if some people weren't just using it for their own convenience. And in a modern fashion ... where would we have put him? Solitary confinement in Guantanamo Bay for the rest of his life?  Maybe in general population somewhere in New York ...

Given those options, two to the head is the most merciful anyone could have been to him.

What is odd for me is the general reaction.  While it is not V-AQ day (as opposed to V-E or V-J day), I have the feeling this is as close as we're going to get. There will be no signing of a peace treaty with al-Qaeda, they keep saying as much.  So, the War on Terror will probably end with what's left of al-Qaeda hiding in the mountains in a few more years, and no one will notice.

German's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has taken fire because she was "glad" the mission was a success. Some Europeans castigated her because the attitude wasn't "Christian" -- which is odd coming from a continent that told Pope John Paul II to shove Christianity where the sun don't shine.  And they're obviously ignorant of Christianity, since St. Thomas Aquinas even admitted that there is an argument for tyrannicide. And since Osama was the tyrant of his own little terrorist empire, I'm thinking he qualifies.

Germany's Siegfried Kauder said "I would not have formulated it in that way. Those are thoughts of revenge that one should not harbor. That is from the Middle Ages."  So is Maga Carta, movable type, an a whole bunch of other nifty stuff. Call it the "Dark Ages" all you like, buddy, but ignoring everything that happened from the fall of Rome to Rousseau is to miss a lot of stuff. Then again, he also said it was against international law .... and that the UN should create international law.  When international law is created, Mr. Kauder, get back to us.

Even the Dali Lama said it was okay the nail the bastard.

Fun Facts: Waterboarding.

How many people has the United States waterboarded? With all of the political jabbering, I figured that the CIA must have waterboarded every last person in Guantanamo Bay, and every prisoner in Iraq, Afghanistan, and whoever we could kidnap.

The final number .... Three.  Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.(The CIA says that KSM was waterboarded over 183 times. KSM himself says it was only 12 ... someone's math is screwed up.)

With a little research, I've discovered that nobody of consequence on the Right has argued that waterboarding, or any other form of coercive interrogation, should be even the first recourse in interrogation (or at all with legitimate prisoners of war). It's something in an interrogator’s toolkit for hard-core senior terrorist leaders, that's about it. And when I say nobody of consequence, I mean no one from the head of the RNC, down to friggin Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

The usual critics of waterboarding have insisted that the tradeoffs involved don’t need to be debated, because coercive interrogation never yields any information of any use in any situation....

By waterboarding in 2007, the US got the name of a certain bin Laden courier. It was by following this courier that the US was able to find bin Laden.
So, never say never.

I don't know if you've ever been waterboarded. It's simple. Basically, put yourself into a position where you are upside down, or at least slanted on an angle so you're close enough. Pour water down your nose. Not a lot, maybe an ounce or two. Breathe through your mouth. Congratulations, you've been waterboarded. I've waterboarded myself once, and possibly more than the time and water limit suggested by CIA guidelines. It sucks, but it's not lethal, and there is no possibility of drowning.
Yes, I waterboarded myself for research. I'm a little wierd.

Fun Facts: Iraq.
Okay, KSM was waterboarded into getting us the courier who we followed to Osama. Iraq was an utter waste of time ....
According to Wikileaks, there was a fellow named Hassan Ghul (does anyone else want his first name to be Naz?) who added the final bit of intelligence that led us to the courier, and to Osama.
Where did we get this Ghul?  Iraq.
Damnit, more politics.
I know I'm going to get branded as being a member of some sort of right-wing organization, be it the Taxed Enough Already party, the Republican, the Glenn Beck party, what have you.  I've made my political statement, so you can label me what you will.
I am a very traditional person.  You could say I follow the Geneva convention, which states that illegal combatants have no rights.  However, that is a position under the traditional rules of war. Anyone who works for the enemy, who operates in your terrotory, and does not wear a traditional uniform, used to be given the label of "spy," and was eligible for a quick ticket to the afterlife.  And I don't mean a trial, I mean a field execution.  The traditional rules of war made certain everyone played by the rules, because violation meant death.

During the Cold War, we developed the concept of spy swaps. Everyone came home alive. But that was during a non-shooting war, and, somehow, those rules have expanded to every aspect of war.
I've been told by people I respect, that the United States is the civilized country, therefore we should give terrorists trials, and all the rights afforded to US citizens under the constitution. Considering that every other country on the planet does not extend their rights to non-citizens, I think that's a little daft, but what the hell.
The problem is that we it is a historical oddity to give trials to soldiers for acts of war. War criminals, even in Nazi Germany, were mostly civilians, or operating non-military organizations. We tried people who operated death camps, not soldiers fighting against other soldiers.

Most terrorists are not soldiers. They are illegal combatants. Had the Iraqi army stood and fought during the Iraq war in 2003, they would have fought other soldiers, and no one would have been prosecuted for defense against an incoming army.... unless, of course, they spent their time under Saddam killing unarmed civilians, in which case, they were screwed either way.

But I'm the sort of person who waterboards myself for research, so I'm a different sort of daft.

Back to bin Laden a moment.
Can I at least be glad that we have checked Osama off the "to do list"? My first thought is more a matter of "About bloody time. We got the sucker. Whew."  Can I be glad that he won't be planning anything more? He won't be killing anyone else anytime soon? Assuming he's been doing anything lately? That this is the closest to justice he's ever going to get?

Though I am curious. How much of this exuberance is that he's dead, and how much is V-J day, 2011? How many are under the mistaken impression that his death means the end of every terrorist extremist psycho out there? Because that overblown rhetoric is the real danger. "Osama is dead, the threat is over." If that's the case, reality is going to become most unpleasant.  It's not V-J day. Or V-AQ day. It's a good start, though.

El-Alamein was the middle point of World War II, when things started to look good for the Allies. What Churchill said "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
The end of Osama is not the end. But this may, hopefully, be the beginning of the end.

And, while it will not be V-AQ day for at least a few more years, I suspect this will be the only time to have a party. Osama's death is a milestone. I'd have a party if he was captured. That he is taken off of the chessboard of the war is a reason for partying, no matter the method.

Osama is now a martyr.  But martyrs can't release video tape.


Last week Nancy Pelosi credited President George W. Bush for getting Osama bin Laden. 

He was castigated for allowing waterboarding.... It got the name of the courier.

He was castigated for taking his eye off the ball and going into Iraq. It gave the US the "linchpin" to getting close to the courier.

Nancy Pelosi is saying good things about George Bush.... It may be the end of the world.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Osama Got Me Published ... Sort of

My agent suggested that I start building up name recognition by submitting Letters to the Editor of various and sundry Newspapers.  We have a paper around New York called Newsday.  Apparently, they saw fit to publish my letter today.
I would have posted a link, but Newsday wants to charge me money so I can read my own article online.  I have the original, I can settle for that.

It's not much, but it's a start.

To the editor.

While many have celebrated the death of Osama bin Laden, I am somewhat saddened, and disappointed. In my research into intelligence work, killing terrorists of bin Laden's level is a waste of material. Interrogating him would have led to a deep well of valuable intelligence, which may not be easily discovered by a forensic investigation of the material around him. Whether bin Laden was water boarded, or even if he was sat down for milk and cookies, he was valuable alive. One almost hopes that the conspiracy theories are correct, and bin Laden's death was faked by the US government -- a public capture would encourage his colleagues to change plans, and a death would reassure them that everything bin Laden knew died with him. But this is not a Vince Flynn novel, or even my novel, A Pius Man (under review). One only hopes that all of his secrets did not die with him, but were written down and lying about in plain sight, so our Navy SEALs could collect all of them.

It's not much, but it's a start.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Is Dead: Requiem for a Terrorist

Osama bin Laden is dead.

Last week, a man who has been a plague on mankind was put out of our misery by some US Navy Seals via a gunshot to the head; if I hear correctly, Osama had been using a woman as a human shield at the time.  It was a fitting end -- Osama wanted a culture that would require women to wear nothing but burka and veil, an outfit that would make a Catholic nun look like she was wearing a slinky dress in comparison, and he died hiding behind a woman.

At the very end, the man went out showing his true colors.  He could send the poor, the desparate, the starving, and the mildly insane to their deaths, but he couldn't try for a standup fight with soldiers.  Considering he came in at the last minute of the Soviet war with Afghanistan, and made himself into the John Kerry of the Talbian ("I fought in Afghanistan against the first Great Satan!"  When he fired a few rounds at the Soviet's retreating backs).  In the end, he went out like a cowardly movie villain, and the noble hero gets to make an impressive killshot.

Osama bin Laden is dead .... Now what?

To start with?  There are going to be numerous thriller authors in mourning, seeking a new bad guy. The fiction post-Saddam Hussein went into a tailspin, trying to come up with someone else to beat up on.

After that, there's a little issue of where he was found: in a mansion, in a city just outside of Islamabad.  A town filled with miltary personnel.  Conflicting reports state that the Pakistanis were in on the kill, others state that they were informed after the fact.  In either event, the man was living there for at least six months. Someone is going to want to explain that.  I suspect there will be several some bodies on the ground, with their heads in a separate corner of the room.

I am a little sad that Osama is dead.  Why?  Because I think there will be people who will use Osama's death to say "Great, the war on Terror is over, let's go home and pretend this never happened."  Which would be nice if Osama didn't have, you know, an entire terrorist network.  And if Osama has really been a figurehead for years, as some have suggested, then the work isn't over.  It's a good start though.

Also, I'm even more worried about the intelligence issue.  If I were in charge of intelligence on this, the press release about Osama's death would be ... premature.  I would have sent in SEALS with orders to capture bin Laden alive, then ship him off to one of the fabled "Black Sites," where he could be interrogated for as long as possible.  There are that state that the interrogated would lie through their teeth; to start with, perhaps, but that's why (again, if I were running things) I would say Osama was dead, so that everyone he knows personally would feel safe and secure knowing that Osama couldn't talk to anyone. Facts could be corroborated, and then repeat the process until the truth comes out.  If this were the case, I would have released photos of Osama "dead," covered with Hollywood makeup.  And frozen in place with a hint of curare.
But that would be me.  I don't mean to spread conspiracy theories.  I'm probably ahead of the curve on the tinfoil hat brigade.  And if they aren't there yet, they have a conspiracy, gratis.  That he's dead means that we would have to rely on whatever paperwork was lying around in his immediate vicinity.  I'm not encouraged, but I may just be a pessimist.

Now, there have been philosophers who have argued there must be a Hell, if only because there are some crimes so insidious that it cries out for justice.  If there weren't an afterlife, the sheer horror of these crimes would create one, just for those particular bastards.

I believe that Osama is in for a surprise.  Not even for a Christian deity.  But for something else. 

Looking at the Koran a moment, there is Sura 81, “When the girl, buried alive, is asked what what crime she is slain … ” and it goes on for a very long while. Sura 81 is “the Cessations,” and deals with the punishment of the wicked on Judgment day … and it has nothing to do with Skynet.

I've read that particular verse (Sura 81: 8-9) interpreted by a mullah as being a matter of "God will punish the murderer of children, for children have committed no crime." In Sura 5, “the Table”, that those who fight against God or "His Apostle," thereby bringing disorder to the world should be exiled, or be crucified. Considering how many Islamofacist terrorists have butchered plenty of children, and their fellow coreligionists, if they were to be looking at the whole thing literally, Osama would have been nailed to a set of 2x4s by his own people.  And does inviting the United States military to come down on parts of the Middle East like the hand of God count as spreading disorder?

But, at the end of the day, Osama was just a guy conveniently clipping lines from the Koran for his own convenience.  He didn't like Western Culture.  And the way he went about it, if anyone were honest, would have gotten him killed under the culture he claimed to fight for.

If atheists are right, Osama is nothingness now.  If believers are right, he is either in a purgatory for the insane, or in Hell.  Unless he discovered a sudden desire for forgiveness before the end.  It's possible.

Though I doubt it.

Osama. Death. Events. Superman... a Strange week.

Yup, the title's a little odd, but then again, so have been my last few days.


First things first:  Osama bin Laden is sort of dead ... So, to the soldiers of the US military: Thank you for blowing him straight to Hell.  Expect "Osama tapes" to keep being broadcast on al-Jazeera for a few more weeks, at least.  I suspect that, like Stephen J. Cannell, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Parker, bin Laden still has a postmortem career ahead of him.

However, I talked about Osama yesterday. Let's move on.

The rest of post will be short.  There's a death in the family.  Please, no condolences; I have a strange reaction to death: there's either Heaven, Hell, or Nothing.  If Heaven is the option, the dead have it better than we do.  If there's Nothing, then, well, the cancer is over.  If the other option ... well, then, there's nothing to be done about it, is there?

Moving on ....

I had partially considered starting my "Evil Religions" series, which I had mentioned before Lent first started.  However, after the whole Snarky Theology series, I think I'm going to take a break from posting non-fiction.  You'd be surprised at how work intensive it can get.... also, my first "Evil Religion" post is ten pages long, and that's after constant editing and revision.

I had considered the latest Disaster to Marvel At ... and it's not a Marvel disasterFor once.  No, it seems that Quesada disease has infected DC.  In an attempt to be relevant, they are having Superman renounce his American citizenship to join the United Nations.  Because "truth, justice, and the American way just isn't enough anymore" ...

Funny, "the American way" didn't work very well for Osama, when it landed on him in the form of a SEAL team.

I have plenty to say on the Super-idiocy, much of it utilizing words that are inappropriate for a PG-rated blog.

And I wanted to discuss that Pope John Paul II is on his way to becoming a Saint, and that his day will be ... May Day.  Funny, that a guy who fought the Soviet Union until it's dying day now gets to take over their feast day.  How's that for a souvenir of war? But, non-fiction is rather work intensive. Maybe next year.

So, that leaves me free to mention a few upcoming items.

1) This upcoming Saturday is Free Comic Book Day.  I will be posting an online short story called "One Way to Stay Out of Jail."  The star of this story is one Sean Ryan, who appears in A Pius Man and has already had a few short stories all his own: The Pirate King, the surprisingly popular Boys of the Old Brigade, and God Hates .... Superman?.  He's one of my more colorful characters.  Unlike Scott "Mossad" Murphy, who likes to go unnoticed, Sean has a tendency to leave behind evidence of his presence.  One can usually follow him if one just runs towards the screaming.... Oh, wait, wrong blog.

And, for the record, the complete list of stories is here.

2)  Now, a while ago, I had mentioned that I try to keep busy.  I do this mainly by writing other novels.  And since I've written a whole trilogy around A Pius Man, there's only so much I can do since the first book may or may not survive its first form.

Right now, it's starting to look like vampires might be a good idea.  How many people would like to see a novel of vampires where: A) It all makes sense? B) Vampires all follow the rules laid down in Dracula? And C) THEY DON'T SPARKLE?

I'm going to talk with my agent about it, obviously, but I would like to know: if I write this, will you, kind reader, want to come and play?  I can promise you that I will make fun of certain cliches running rampant right now. I can promise that I will include philosophy, history, theology, and enough action to make the Blade movies seem slow and ponderous. And I try to make fighting vampires practical in a modern age.....  I just really wanted to use the Throwing Stars of David and Vatican Ninjas

So, what do you think?  Please comment below.... and keep it clean.