Eff's Rambles (Archive)

3/29/2004

Normally I'm a rather civil person, rarely, if ever, using crass language in my commentaries, but this time will be an exception. For today I express my disdain for those annoying musical bastards represented by groups such as Simple Plan and Good Charlotte.

Why do I hate these bands?

Well, these twirps are certainly annoying with their dyed green, spiked hair appearance. Wannabe punkers. And the mean and sexy girlfriend themes, as well as the socialistically based commentary, is predictable as hell. But what makes them reek is the torturousness of their heartless lead singers who've not the kindness of heart to know they pollute the harmony of the musical world.

These whiny, nasally singers some how appeal to people. Damn it, how can anyone listen to that punk from Linkin' Park scream 'crawling in my skin' like a demented elf? Yes, even these bands and those like them are capable of good songs. But the power of their whasaliness (whiny+nasally) can be overwhelming.

What, the songs have a message?

Screw their message. I'll read poetry for messages, I want harmony. I like Jpop largely because I can't understand it. 3-5 minute rants about mean ex-girlfriends and how evil corporations are; too cool! Yes, those are not all they sing about, I presume, but those sure seems to be most of what's song about. That or angst. 'I'm mad, now let me sing about it, make millions and sing some more about it.'

I was annoyed by too many rock singers using deep voices that made them sound generic, but these whasally singers far surpass them. They, at least, don't come close to making me want to twitch.

Please shut the fuck up.

3/22/2004

If I could give any advice on how to make a persuasive contention, it would be to avoid the consistency argument.

The US supported the dictator Saddam in the 80s and now wants to undo the mess it caused.

The implication here is that the US has made poor, unethical decisions to the detriment of millions. The response to that is, of course, to ask if the policy of support was right at the time it existed, and for an explanation of what would have been better. There is the issue of the use of the CIA and weapons sales, or something near to that, that may have helped Saddam in his alleged attack on Halabja and the uncontroversal, as far as I know, attacks on Iranian soldiers with chemical weapons, at least. But that doesn't adequately demonstrate the policy of supporting Saddam to counter the threat of Iran as wrong.

The US's war has killed thousands of Iraqis and will kill many more. The UN should have been allowed more time.

The UN is now under a lot of scrutiny because of the controversial Oil for Food program. The program is far too complicated for me to understand, and to try to assign fault on any party, but what I can say is that it puts a pall over the organisation, weakening the very soundness of giving it a lot of control in Iraq, albeit no alternatives of its kind exist. I doubt this is a case where the US is innocent, but the larger story here is one of trust in the UN, and whether or not its handling of Iraq before the war was appropriate, and if it's the appropriate body to handle it now.

The US support of sanctions killed many Iraqis.

This seems to have some validity, as do many contentions against US policy. But let's expand on refutation to the previous contention by reminding ourselves of our own fallibility. Supposing the US did keep unecessary sanctions going, specifically when and where should sanctions be cut? It's easy to see how any form of sanctions can be detrimental to the lives of some of the people of the country to which they are imposed. Our fallibility is that we may have killed because of greed and narrow interest as Saddam did with terror on his own people. And that can go for any member of the UN Security Council, down to food couriers for humanitarian efforts. Death was an apparent enivitability for many Iraqis. Which death do you prefer: that by greed, a tyrant, or war?

Why shouldn't the US go into other countries with similar or worse records than Saddam if human rights is the litmus test for justifying war?

If one is going to cite how much worse another country's human rights record is than Iraq's, than they should also point out which country should be targetted first for "liberation." I'm aware the contention is that countries run the risk of quagmires and over extention by invading other countries for broadly applicable justifications, but the counter argument to the use of force in this context should be one of strategy, not just criticisms of moral inconsistency. Argue the alternative, don't just compare, i.e, North Korea to Iraq. Why not then turn around and say N. Koreans should not be "liberated" because Mugabe is "worse' and less dangerous to overthrow?

To me, the apparentness of the failures of the intelligence community; of the inadequacy of the argument tying Saddam to the threat of terrorism; and of being a serious threat in general to the US are far better contentions. It is true that the lives lost under Saddam are less theoretical than that of chaos some claimed would results from a war, the lost lives from which could only be estimated broadly. That's a point I've made before. But the danger of using war is inherent. So before we use it, we should prove its necessity by first proving what we've been using has failed, and not merely with theoretical dangers and past precedence as indicators of intent. In the end, the Iraqis suffered, as do millions as we all try to be heros. I wonder, just what do those people desire, not what doves and hawks claim they want.


3/18/2004

I am largely retiring from political discussions and debates. Any comments I make will be done sparingly and in a general way, as is usually the case.

3/14/2004

I emphasize with the Spanish people's sadness and anger over becoming targets of terrorist attacks and the death of 11 of their soldiers in Iraq, seemingly in response to their governments involvement in in the war in Iraq, but, changing to the Socialist party, with whatever "superior" strategies they may inact, is unsettling. Not because they aren't the better party, I do not know which part is best for Spain, but because the terrible attacks could have befallen the Spanish people for even minor involvement in Afghanistan alone. Spain could be even attacked as nothing more than a target of opportunity. Greater involvement with American policy will further endanger the Spanish, that is true, though it may benefit them as well by improving standing with an economic powerhouse and give some satisfaction in helping to weaken the capacity for even worse attacks, one hopes, by taking the fight to the terrorists, but these questions will be wondered by many Americans, such as myself: Will the Spanish people vote out any party if their country is hit for any reason? And, can we Americans count on the Spanish as a dependable ally?
The appearance the people of Spain have given is that we Americans cannot count on them, and that won't change significantly by showing involvement in the diplomatic and police actions in the war on terrorism, or by increasing them.

Fostering the "ugly American."

Most fair people strive to be as objective as they can. Each issue put before them is carefully thought over or cast aside when a person cannot cope, and he would rightly admit to his inability to assess a given matter as soon as realizes it.

But it is hard to separate collective complaints and review each problem objectively when you are a part of the entity toward whom the complaints are focused.

While it may be that most of the discontented are correct per issue, the volume of negativity seems to dwarf what there is that is positive, which often seems to be praise for our founding principles.

The Americans are responsible for this:

Seldom is heard an encouraging word in the list perhaps most would make.

No one wants to be ugly; speak thoughts from a narrow mind. But there comes a point when, no matter how right the complaints, the barrage of them breaks down civil tolerance and leads one to ask, or beg, that it would just stop. I am near to that point.

Again and again, America has done something wrong; ranging from supporting despots to exporting its supposedly "wretched culture."
And again and again these wrongs are followed with little commendation, if arguably appropriate, and context in the name of fairness.

I may become complacent on the complaints, and it would not be a good thing if most people do also. Continue the imbalance and see the inevitability of taking that path toward indifference.


 

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