Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Twenty Things Obama has got wrong during his presidency

1. Race Relations - His rhetoric and the presence of race-baiters in his administration such as Attorney-General Eric Holder have further inflamed this volatile issue. For a post-racial president Obama has done very little to heal the animosity that exists between the races (I personally believe that there is only one race – the Human Race but the left continues to keep the race construct alive). His handling of the Skip Gates and Trayvon Martin affairs are testament to this. In addition the tainted figures of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are regular visitors to the White House. It is well known that these two characters are regular problem makers (not solvers). Why then does Obama still give them the time of day?

2. Increased the US National Debt with a series of ill-conceived bailout policies and misguided Neo-Keynesian initiatives that has further made the great nation into the largest debtor entity in the history of western civilization. More debt has been built up under Obama than under any other president in US history. In fact the debt now stands at 105% of GDP.

3. Choked the Keystone Pipeline - which would have created much needed jobs in the US, solidified relations with Canada and provided a source of oil independent of the Middle East.

4. Killed several NASA initiatives (Moon , Mars etc)…Nobody is sure what the Administration does these days…This is a great shame as former Democrat Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were at the forefront advocating for NASA.

5. Wasted a large amount of taxpayer dollars on silly environmental initiatives such as Clash for Clunkers and Solyndra that have proved to be dismal failures.

6. Signed an environmental agreement with China which very much favours the latter giving them license to pollute for some time, while placing stronger environmental restrictions on the US.

7. Has promoted a PC culture in the armed forces that stifles criticism of Islam and favours sensitivity training over common sense. This was best seen in the secrecy surrounding the Nidal Malik Jihadist inspired killings. Obama’s relations with the US military have been poor at best. He has dismissed several generals and clashed bitterly with his first three Defence Secretaries: Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel.

8. Has failed to take a tough enough stance against Iran. His policies have rewarded the Mullahs with the gift of ‘time’ as they continue building up their nuclear enrichment program.

9. Threw a poorly handled and nebulous Obamacare strategy down the throats of the American people in a way that threatens the integrity of American healthcare coverage on many levels.

10. Pushed through an illegal immigrant amnesty directives that jeopardizes the rule of law and rewards those guilty of bypassing the system. His decision to go ahead with the so-called DREAM Act, which has failed repeatedly to pass through Congress, represents a huge slap in the face to those Americans seeking to enter the US legally. It is also doubtful whether the directives will stem the flow of illegal immigration.

11. Released several terrorists in exchange for Army deserter Bowe Berghdahl. Has released other terrorists as well who will no doubt reward the US by continuing their Jihad against the Great Satan.

12. Continues to use John Kerry as a blunt instrument to bash Israel over the head while ignoring Palestinian indiscretions. State Dept has poured much money into Hamas backed regime in Gaza who continue to advocate for the destruction of the State of Israel.

13. Used the IRS to investigate conservative organizations with many of the e-mails associated with this somehow ‘disappearing’.

14. Was caught on Microphone offering the Russians more flexibility on Missile Control. Talk about transparency. Ouch.

15. The Veterans Affair Scandal.

16. Endorsed the disaster known as the Arab Spring that has made the Middle East an even more volatile region than before. Sacrificed US ally, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, but did little to support popular anti-Mullah protests in Iran.

17. Withdrew US troops prematurely from Iraq thereby facilitating the rise of ISIS.

18. Did not provide the necessary support to the US Staff in the Benghazi embassy attack (in fact it seems that neglected several briefings on this issue). His administration also lied to the public about the origins of the attacks blaming it on a cheap anti-Muslim movie while playing down the obvious Jihadist elements behind the killings. Shame on congressional Republicans for not following through with greater vigilance on this national security travesty.

19. Takes credit for US economic success (driven largely by the pro-market ‘Red State’ of Texas) that has occurred despite his actions rather than because of it. Administration continues to downplay the rise in U6 unemployment in the country that has risen during his term of office.

20. Has given a much needed lifeline to the Castros in Cuba who head a regime with a notoriously poor human rights record. Neglects to take Cuba to task for their assistance as torturers/interrogators of US POWs in Vietnam.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Personal Ranking of the Most Important Battles of World War Two

1. Stalingrad 2. Battle of Britain 3. Pearl Harbor 4. Atlantic 5. Normandy 6. Moscow 7. Kursk 8. Midway 9. Guadalcanal 10. Leningrad 11. El Alamein 12. Ardennes Bulge 13. Tunis 14. Leyte Gulf 15. Dunkirk 16. Mediterranean 17. Anzio 18. Iwo Jima 19. Okinawa 20. Tobruk 21. Arnhem 22. Coral Sea 23. Phillipines 24. Warsaw 25. Crete 26. Hong Kong 27. Norway 28. Monte Cassino 29. Corregidor 30. Gazala

Obama has a few positives to his credit

Just to show that I am objective here are Ten Things Obama has got right in his presidency 1. Removed the unnecessary restrictions on Stem Cell Research

2. Championed the Drone Strategy for assassination of Taliban Jihadists in Pakistan and Afghanistan (FYI though…The Drone strategy actually started under Bush).

3. Slapped Sony for caving into North Korea on the hacker issue (if indeed that is the full story….only time will tell).

4. Helped Israel (somewhat) access Steel Dome Missile protection system. Also limited his criticism of Israel during the last Gaza debacle.

5. Showed support for the Ukraine against Russian belligerency in the Crimea.

6. Maintained Robert Gates as Secretary of Defence during the crucial withdrawal period from Iraq.

7. Initiated the STEM program which will hopefully catalyze greater interest in science and technology for American students.

8. Obamacare – (on one level…yes) – I do believe that it will help those at the lowest income levels obtain the necessary health care protection that they need.

9. Gave the go ahead for the assassination of Osama Bin Laden

10. Helped rid the world of Muammar Gaddafi…although the alternative may be worse.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pity Ontario...

The Auditor-General reveals that the Ontario 'Lie'brals have blown over eight billion dollars with not much to show for it. Report seems a bit harsh but even if it were remotely accurate this is still disturbing. I am not sure what is more pathetic? The lack of respect that the Grits have for taxpayer money or the electorate, who keep voting these nimrods back into power.

Twelve Years in........What I have learnt as a science teacher?

1. Students care more about fairness than anything else. This seems to be a very strong human sentiment.

2. Make yourself approachable.

3. Kids don’t stay angry for a long time (unlike adults who can hold grudges for years).

4. Hands-on lab work is important for the learning experience in the sciences.

5. Don’t kill the fun of labs by burying the kids in one lab report after another.

6. Treat your students as human beings. Respect them and they will respect you.

7. Don’t underestimate the power of busy work but it should not be the mainstay of your teaching.

8. Nothing beats a strong explanation.

9. Keep learning as a teacher. Aim to know your subject matter inside out.

10. Encourage questioning but don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know the answer. Don’t BS the kids they are smarter than you think.

11. Set the standards from day one and don’t deviate from them.

12. Frequent mini quizzes ensure consistent learning. Kids may hate the idea initially but will grow to accept them as it ensures continuous learning and less cramming for larger unit tests.

13. Homework allocated must be useful. It has to reinforce the big ideas.

14. Make sure the kids know what the big ideas are. Don’t let them focus on the grains of sands while ignoring the dunes.

15. Movies shown in class must be relevant and if possible entertaining.

16. Use humour when teaching. It makes the kids relaxed and they learn better that way. I am the king of puns (not always good ones either).

17. Have a realistic marking scheme that rewards methodology and thinking even if the final answer is incorrect.

18. Remember that your kids are human beings. Each class is different. Every student is unique. You may be teaching the same course (or subject matter) but your presentation of the material should be adjusted accordingly.

19. Keep challenging yourself to be a better teacher. Never stagnate.

20. Present both sides of a controversial issue when fostering discussion.

21. Make sure that the students are aware of the practical applications of the theory that they are learning.

22. Encourage innovative answers that step outside the framework of the traditional solution.

23. Challenge your students to make connections between the content learnt in one discipline with that of another eg. electric fields in physics can explain ion balances in the human body or Newton’s laws are very useful in kinesiology.

24. Use technology in the classroom but don’t let the technology overwhelm the environment so that the human element is sacrificed.

25. Make sure that you deliver the material to the students in an organized manner. Ask yourself….What misconceptions need to be addressed at each stage of the learning?

26. Hand back tests and assignments as soon as possible. The Kids like that and it will pay dividends as the end.

27. Worksheets are not an outdated learning tool. If they are well crafted in a manner that shows a progression towards high orders of thinking the students will gain from them.

28. Use the internet for teaching resources but modify accordingly. Customize to maximize learning.

29. Don’t let the kids bully you for extra marks on a test. There are occasions where extra marks are warranted but this is not always the case. Be flexible but firm.

30. Student groups must be balanced. Rotate group spokespersons and make sure that the spokesperson keeps the group on track.

31. Listen to the ideas and advice of other teachers even if they are not that practical (you can modify based on your own experience if you see fit).

32. Field Trips should align with the curriculum and just like in-class movies must serve as a vehicle for learning.

33. Build up a vast library of testing resources so that you don’t fall into the trap of recycling tests.

34. Lab Reports must be neatly presented. Make sure the students are aware of the positive impression that neatness conveys.

35. Be creative in your projects. I have had the students build pinball machines, Rube Goldberg devices, toys, bridges, trebuchets/catapults, kaleidoscopes in the past. Other projects have included graphic novels, children stories (focusing on a scientific theme), in-class debates and factory visits. Science Fair projects have their place but need to be well monitored.

36. Encourage your stronger students to write the myriad of interschool competitions available. Kids thrive from the challenge and will surprise you.

37. When speaking to the class. Make the sessions as dynamic as possible, The Socratic two-way method of questioning is powerful but one has to make a conscious effort to allow more voices in the classroom are heard.

38. Offer extra help as often as possible.

39. Make sure that supply teachers have very clear instructions. When you are absent those classes should not transform into a ‘lost’ period.

40. Above all else…Enjoy your teaching. Kids pick up on that and it benefits both them and you.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Open Letter to Jian Ghomeshi

To Jian

Lets face it the situation is looking bleak right now. Those accusing you of sexual harassment have reached double digit levels and while you are still lagging behind Bill Cosby in this department you need to act fast before the situation really spirals out of control. You have already erred so far with that silly lawsuit now its time to limit the damage. My suggestion is to change your strategy. Throw the ball back at your accusers by charging them with Racism and if that fails pull out the in vogue Islamophobia card. Argue that you are the most successful Iranian-Canadian in media history and that you have set the trend for others to follow. Remember that you broke through a glass ceiling. In a sense you are a trailblazer who has had the rug ripped from below his feet by systemic white racism that masquerades as liberal tolerance, just when you reached the top of your profession (whatever that is). Force the establishment to swallow that (no pun intended). If they don’t cave they will surely buckle, especially in politically correct Canada, where racial intolerance of any kind is regarded as an unspeakable offence.

Is this dishonest? Of course it is…but we are not here to debate morality only to get you out of spending time in prison where you would likely discover first hand what it is to be on the receiving end of unwanted sexual advances. My thinking has much promise. Remember that racism always triumphs sexism in today’s calculus of grievances and the fact that you were an icon of the left should guarantee you some points as well (a big advantage over Bill Cosby who made the mistake a few years ago of uttering opinions which many deem to be conservative and now is seen by the media as being someone who is ‘less black’). OJ Simpson used such a defence, and it worked. Hell.....He got away with two murders. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have made fortunes and gained notoriety playing the race card and the best aspect of all is that if it does fail you don’t have to apologize to anyone afterward. Sharpton never does and he is wrong almost all the time.

Signed A regular citizen trying to make sense of a world fraught with double standards.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Media Bias: An Analogy

Bias in political opinion is the philosophical equivalent of the concept of relative velocity in physics. When one is moving with the same velocity as another object then one does not notice the motion of that object. By the same token if one’s opinions are in agreement with an article or media report we tend not to sense the bias as that would call into question our personal asymmetries (and it is of course human nature to see ourselves as intrinsically fair). Hence Liberals don’t see the obvious bias in the MSM as it gels with their worldview. Conservatives, as well as those of the far left, are removed from this frame of reference and can clearly see the bias. The far left will argue that the MSM is right wing (which in their reference frame it is) and conservatives will claim that it is either liberal or leftist depending on the individual stance of the conservative making the call. The problem with the liberal mindset is that its synchronous walk with the MSM autopilot allows it to shelter in default position that can foster ‘lazy thinking’ and a blinkered vision of the world. A specific case in point is the inability to see that the rhetoric offered by networks such as MSNBC and CBS is just as slanted in its degree of bias as those of Fox.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Good bye Chucky

Chuck Hagel, the anti-Israel Secretary of Defense appointed by Obama in 2013, has resigned. I wonder if he will complain like his predecssors Robert Gates and Leon Panetta about the administration's micro-management focus and lack of consistent strategy in the Middle East. I never liked Hagel so I can't say that I am loathe to see him leave but considering the POTUS's poor record in cabinet apointee's (John Kerry ranking amongst the worst) it won't surprise me if Hagel's successor drags the bar even lower.

Thoughts on what is greater

I am not an orthodox jew but I do believe in a transcendent entity that for convenience I call G-d. Essentially I am a rationalist theist. There have been times that I have gravitated toward both atheism and deism. I rejected the former as it fails to adequately explain the reality of why there is something as opposed to nothing. The latter while addressing the origin question leaves us with the harshness of a world without intrinsic purpose. Yet I struggle with some big qu...estions that were further highlighted by last week's brutal synagogue attacks. How could G-d let this happen in a house of worship geared to him? If he is indifferent then surely he is not worthy of our worship. If he lacks the power to stop it then he is clearly not the Almighty. These are questions that have been asked over and over again yet with each horror they naturally re-surface. The best that we can posit as theists is that we don't have a complete understanding of the bigger picture. There are greater forces at play but we a humans, being limited by our rational and sensory constraints, can only comprehend a sliver of the vast mosaic. This is not entirely satisfying explanation but to abandon it would leave me floating in the existential abyss of the relativism of the mind. I cannot stomach that. A world where a position of evil is only in 'opinion' worse than that of good is a world of nothing that passes into the night with no worth. For me that would be hell. So I continue to believe. My faith is shaken at times, but the alternative is much more frightening.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Yet another outpouring of evil

Tuesday 18th of November marks yet another tragic event in the tortured history of our people. Five Jews were killed and eight others wounded in an act of hatred and evil that furthers reveals the malignancy that resides in the Palestinian mindset. It is a depravity born from a self-destructive yearning that values death over life, ridicules rationalism and wraps itself in the barbarism of cult-like fanatical behaviour. In practicality it finds sustenance in a media machine that dehumanizes the... Jew and teaches from a young age an anti-semitic bile that constantly invites such atrocities. The killings have happened before and they will unfortunately occur once again. While Palestinian leaders may decry such evil, with an insincerity that only a fool could believe, their hands drip with the same blood that grace the hands of the terrorists. In their rhetoric and support for a corrosive education and values system these leaders have nurtured demented and extremely hateful thinking. This is the tragedy that they have catalyzed. However Israel will survive and it will grow stronger. The Jewish people have a history of outliving our tormentors and we will defeat this scourge as well. At times we are isolated and it feels like that again. However our strength is in our solidarity, not just with ourselves but with those like-minded voices, who value the human spirit, the sanctity of our shared civilization and the need to be vigilant and not tire in the defence of the great values that separate us from those that seek to reduce our species to the lowest possible moral depth. Am Israel Chai.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thoughts on the Terrorist Acts in Canada this week

Well it had to come. The Islamists are hitting targets on Canadian soil and will continue to do so. First there was Monday’s hit-and-run attack now Wednesday’s shootings at the War Memorial and Parliament Hill. The role of ISIS in catalyzing these events is still unclear but the Jihadist link is very strong. The usual terror spin doctors in the media will of course urge us to show restraint while arguing with no particular evidence that the perpetrators are not real Muslims ...and that their actions are inconsistent with the Koran. While a part of me wishes that this were true my personal investigation into the dogma that drives these fanatics reveals a conclusion at odds with this obvious simplification. Besides the nauseating restraint request (something we in the West have followed through to a fault…often with our own safety at risk) there will be those, such as certain columnists in the Toronto Star, who will no doubt find a way of blaming these attacks on neo-conservatives, George Bush, Harper’s support for Israel, Lepanto, cartoons, Charles Martel, low budget You Tube movies and the Crusades. Anything except the real cause…The Armed Jihadist impulse in the Islamic World…A well established phenomenon with origins in the days of the prophet himself. Now I am heartened to see that some Liberals are waking up to this threat. Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher come to mind but there are still many who continue to sprout the ‘hear no evil, see no evil lines’ best exemplified by Ben Affleck in his insinuation that criticism of Islam by its very nature must be tainted by racism and that overused meaningless newspeak term Islamophobia. While a Grade eight student with a smidgeon of critical thinking could of course debunk the Affleck assertion, opponents of the Counter-Jihad continue to use his faulty line of reasoning to ever play the faithful water carrier role and give those who would like to relegate western civilization to history’s trash heap their best possible kick at the can. Good people who know that our liberties are well earned and worth fighting for should not cave into the bullying of this totalitarian ideology, nor the whining of their dhimmi apologists. We stared down National Socialism and Marxist-Leninism and we will defeat Islamism as well.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Marie Antoinette

A lot of the bad publicity surrounding Marie Antoinette emanates from the smear campaigns directed against her by the Jacobins, although incidences such as the Diamond Necklace Affair and the Madame Deficit labelling clearly pre-date the Jacobin attacks. I don’t believe that she was bad person however she does appear to be both frivolous, naive and if I have to say so not particularly bright. Her love for her husband and children is admirable and she did seem to support Jacques Necker in his bid to bring the nation’s finances under control. Historians have debated for some time as to the degree of influence that she had on her husband but I do believe that she had a significant role in encouraging Louis XVI to make his ill-fated ‘Flight to Varennes’, a turning point in the fate of the monarchy as an institution. Her connection to the arch-enemy, Austria, was no doubt a legitimate concern for the revolutionary government, and did materialize into a real threat to France with the War of the First Coalition. I think that is reasonable to compare Marie Antoinette to Catherine the Great at least with respect to their origins in the political scene. Both were foreigners (Antoinette from Austria, Catherine from the Germanic States), both were married to weak kings (Peter III for Catherine, Louis XVI for Marie Antoinette), both arrived in countries with large populations, that had strong nobilities and a gigantic poorly treated peasant/serf /third estate class. Each nation was a key centre for a brand of rigid Christianity (Eastern Orthodoxy for Russia, Catholicism for France). Both countries had a very strong war driven monarch who in the not too distant past had resurrected their countries fortunes from the doldrums (Peter the Great for Russia, Louis XIV for France). Yet one of these women went on to greatness, Catherine, while the other, Antoinette, is associated with failure. It is tempting to blame this on spending but Catherine the Great was no fiscal conservative either. What I do believe was the big difference (other than their intellect) is that Catherine successfully ‘Russified’ herself from day one. She changed her name and dropped all connection to her German background. Antoinette did none of this and was always seen as a foreigner. So that when the revolution came it was natural that she should be vilified as an enemy of the state. If Marie Antoinette had stepped down from her pedestal on day one, it is possible that she may have become the People’s Queen, like Catherine and saved the nation from some of the bloodbath which was slated to occur

Friday, October 10, 2014

Justin Trudeau...Infant politician

It's official Justin Trudeau is an idiot...I can't believe that the Liberal leader would make such a stupid remark about the bombing of ISIS...He really is a child trying to play with adults...what an embarrassment...the Grits should have gone with Marc Garneau when they had the chance..

Et Tu Brutus

It seems as though some key Democrats are now dissing Obama...Leon Panetta...the former Secretary of Defense has recently blasted Barry O for his poor handling of the ISIS rise to power...He may be running interference for Hillary though as he is a one time Clinton loyalist....On another note David Axelrod just threw Obama under the bus with respect to the economy...the vultures are circling...

Lets not delight in Turkey

When push comes to shove the only real and dependable ally that the US has in the Middle East is Israel. Even the White House is sensing that Turkey, Qatar and the UAE talk out of both sides of their mouths. Joe Biden openly said what what has been obvious to those in the know that that this group of three cannot be trusted. The Turks are now one of the biggest impediments to international efforts for stability in the region. While they once strode a brave road toward secularism in the 1990s, their presence in NATO carries with it a malignancy that is lethal. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a shrewd Islamist who plays a cat-and-mouse game to further an expanionist agenda. Future events will demonstrate this clearly.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Benghazi Remembered

The US Senate, which is still under Democrat control for now, looks to strengthen ties with Israel, reversing some of the damage done (at least on paper) by Obama/Kerry and co....the initiative appears to be bipartisan..Meanwhile on another front Hillary continues to take heat at the Benghazi hearings...There are so many unanswered questions that have been swept under the rug and point directly at the incompetence of this administration...The Clintons are notorious for dodgin...g scandals that would sink any other politician...a US ambassador's persistent warnings were ignored...drone reports were swept under the rug ...the ambassador was eventually brutally killed as were two Navy Seals and the Obama administration had the audacity to blame the attack on an anti-Islamic film that surfaced a month or so earlier (an excuse that has been discredited)...Obama/Hillary/Panetta/Carney blatantly lied to the American public in order to avoid taking extra heat during the Election fight against Romney in 2012....Americans of all political stripes should be ashamed of the action of this administration...which sacrificed a moral stance for political expediency...a real dark day in the history of the POTUS. Remember the time when American presidents actually stood up to the Libyans?

Eric Holder...Cheers and don't let the door hit you on the way out...

After much self-flagellation Obama has decided to act against the evil that is ISIS. Time will tell whether his actions will have the desired effect but he deserves the benefit of the doubt for now with respect to this particular action. Meanwhile politics in the great nation improved considerably with the resignation of Eric Holder from the post of Attorney General. Holder was a charlatan who side stepped investigations regarding obvious election fraud, used his office to promote a racially motivated agenda and too often took a soft stance against Islamist terror. His policies were consistent with an administration that limps from crisis to crisis and the US will be better served by his absence.

Jewish Voice for Peace...Barely Jewish not peaceful...

I have noticed several New Year posts from the inappropriately named Jewish Voice for Peace, making their way into my Facebook feed. Please note that this group is not a pro-peace initiative but an anti-Israel front group that gives the 'kosher' seal of approval to the ongoing campaign against the Jewish state. It puts a soft spin on the terror used by Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and others against Israel and decries Israel's attempts to defend itself. The mere fact that it h...as prominent BDS supporters such as Desmond Tutu and Naomi Klein on its front page explains a lot. JVP resides politically to the far left of Peace Now, New Israel Fund and J Street and it is clear that many of its members don't even believe that Israel has the right to exist in the first place preferring the two state solution as a stepping stone to a one state option that would see Israel disappear off the world map altogether. Israel and the Jewish people have legitimate peace groups on both sides of the political divide that have its best interests at heart.....JVP is not one of them

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tennis Grand Slams

I agree that men and women should earn the same prize money for the Grand Slams in tennis but then they should also play the same number of sets - best of five not three - these are the Slams after all. One must run the gauntlet to win.

911 Remembered

It has been over thirteen years since jihadists brought down the Twin Towers in New York. It's important that we in the West continue our fight against the Islamist barbarism in its many insidious forms. This includes being vigilant not only against the more obvious Jihadists (ISIL/ISIS, AL Q, Hezbollah, Hamas, the various Salafist groups, Boko Haram, the Brotherhood and others) but also those th...at operate by stealth such as CAIR, ISNA and the MSA.The radical left and many so-called progressives have helped empower some of these groups by muzzling free speech criticism and this has been extremely unfortunate. Obama appears to be waking up but his naivety on this front has cost America dearly. With Europe in the wake of demographic suicide the US is still the best hope for those who champion liberal democracy (although India may carry this mantra in the future)...but after six years of second rate leadership I just hope that it has not lost the belief that overall it is a force of good.

The Race for Mayor in Hogtown

Olivia Chow is polling at 19%, a full 22 percentage points behind John Tory in the Toronto mayorial race. She claims that she can move past Doug Ford, who sits at 34%, but I doubt it. Besides even if she does there are no second place medals here for the picking. The Toronto Star will muckrack to elevate her upwards but her campaign has been lousy so far. On another note its amusing how Tory has been re-branded as a centrist ...by the nattering classes..I remember seven or eight years ago when he ran for the Premiership of Ontario my leftist collegues were likening him to Mike Harris and urging us teachers to vote for the duplicitious Dalton McGuinty (who did more to damage teacher collective bargaining rights than any other premier in recent history...). Ah, how times have changed.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Hot Zone News

We are starting to see David Cameron adopting a tougher stance on Islamic Fundamentalism. Obama appears to have set his targets on ISIS/ISIL but he is so inconsistent in his Middle East policy that I am not sure where he is actually headed. It seems that both leaders want to re-focus NATO to deal with the threat, which must bring a smile on the face of Vladimir Putin as he extends further Russian influence westward into the Eastern Ukraine.

Joan Rivers - R.I.P

My thoughts go out to the family of Joan Rivers. She added much zip to the comedy world and although she ruffled a few feathers was always a strong supporter of Israel. We will miss her.

Plans for Worldohistory

My sister blog Worldohistory has been in suspended animation for the best part of four and a half years...However I have plans to re-ignite this blog which will serve a resource for my posts specifically dealing with our collective history. I am excited about this as I have spent a considerable amount of time reading about the Great War over the last two months and have much to share.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Thoughts on World War I

From my blog....Its been one hundred years since the beginning of the 'War to End All Wars' and the outcome of this great conflict is still very relevant today, While the war ended the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and German Empires it was also responsible for the rise of Fascism, Marxist-Leninism and Islamism. Vladimir Putin is an extension of the KGB apparatus that originated with Lenin's Cheka (during WWI) and ISIS - gains its intellectual capital (if you can call it such a thing) from the Wahhabism that challenged Turkish superiority in the Arabian Peninsula. As well American Intervensionism, which has critics on both the left and the right, can take as its champion Woodrow Wilson, who rejected the isolation of old to thrust America into the global theatre as never before. One would not be mistaken to conclude that the genesis of the US as a superpower has its origin in WWI not necessarily in a military capacity (where it swung the war against the Central Pact in 1918) but in its ability to finance the allied war machine. The American economic power house grew to adulthood in the Great War.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Secret to New Zealand All Black Success: Passion and an incredible feeder system

There is no more dominant teams perhaps in all of international sports than the New Zealand All-Blacks. Not only do the Kiwis have winning records against all competitors, their win percentage across all games is a colossal seventy-five percent (or so). This of course is no reflection on the quality of opposition. Each of the Australian Wallabies, South African Springboks as well as England and France, to name a few, play high intense rugby and boast admirable records on their own but it is the All-Blacks who steal the show. While the New Zealanders boast a proud history of great players - Jonah Lomu, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Colin Meads – it is the level of teamwork, all round commitment, position play and the pride of following in a tradition that borders on the excellent that have elevated the All-Blacks to legendary status. They never seem to field a weak team and are always a force to be reckoned with. In fact it would not be out of line to say that the All Blacks are rugby union’s default champions. So what is the basis for this success? I believe that it is a consequence of the various tiers of competition that colour the panorama of the kiwi rugby world. Take the Canterbury Rugby Union, who are 11 time winners of the ITM Cup (New Zealand’s premier national competition). Amazingly, 48 Club teams feed into this particular union from three sub-unions, yet Canterbury is only one of 26 unions. The elite from Canterbury then play at the next level in the Super 15 Competition tier together with top players from the various other regional unions in an odyssey of rugby that pits the best of New Zealand against their counterparts in South Africa and Australia. The best of the best from these rarefied Super 15 teams are then selected to represent the All-Blacks on the international front. No other nation boasts such a multi-levelled structure that guarantees consistent competition on a yearlong basis (South Africa comes closest), but clearly it does the trick and is a key component in All Black success.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Selective Condemnation

The actions of terror groups as ISIS/ISIL, Hamas and others make it easier to deride Islam as a religion. However one must be aware of the tendency to stigmatize. Yes, the Sunni and Shi’ite worlds have been contaminated by the extremist views of Wahhabism and the Mullah driven Twelver belief respectively, but this does not mean that all Muslims are radicals. The reality is that there are many muslims who are opposed to these Islamo-fascists but unfortunately live in a world where freedom of speech does not enjoy the sanctity that it traditionally does in the West (albeit that these freedoms are now under threat in the West as well due to the politics of political correctness). While we should continue to be vigilant against the actions of all evil we should refrain from painting innocents with the same brush stroke that we reserve for the guilty.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jumping to Conclusions

I am always troubled by the logic of unnecessary extrapolation based on single phenomena. Take the Ferguson shooting. I don’t know whether the police officer, Darren Wilson was a racist. Many thought George Zimmerman was, but there was no evidence for that (in fact if anything Zimmerman had openly opposed racism in his personal life history). What I do know is that Wilson had no prior record of racist activity, he did feel threatened, was injured in the confrontation, shot Brown four times in the right arm and twice in the head. We also know that Brown was not ‘just visiting his grandmother’ but had robbed a convenience store. What we also know is that a 292lb man charging towards you with the intention of attacking you is a fearsome sight. Unarmed attackers can kill especially if they carry with them the full punch of such a weight. Wilson does owe the public and the family an explanation. He is an officer of the law. What he doesn’t deserve is to be convicted and sentenced without a trial and due process consideration of the facts. The great Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said ‘You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts’. Unfortunately too many have forgotten the central theme of common law that a person is innocent until proven guilty, and have condemned Wilson with a visceral response bordering on a modern day lynching.There may or may not be racism involved in this altercation but poisoning the well from the get go does nobody any favours, least of all the necessity for fair and colour blind justice.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Remember what you stand for

It is my experience that if you wish to live a life of meaning that you also have beliefs that are well thought out, clear, non-intentionally hurtful and are based as best as possible on sound reasoning and logic. Now I can’t say that you should divorce emotion from your beliefs, as we are human after all, but this emotion should not override the judgement that is formed along rational lines. In the day-to-day chaos of life, we often sideline our conscious realization of these beliefs, even if we act sub-consciously with the same ideals in mind. This promotes somewhat of a sleepwalking approach to life that we should eschew. To escape such a pathology (and on one level it is such a phenomenon) I would suggest a daily cataloguing and listing of both one’s primary and secondary beliefs. This does not have to span volumes, but should be both succinct and encompassing in such a manner that it brings to mind the core of what we are as agents of free will (one of my key beliefs). I have followed such a course of action for sometime now and find it to be both refreshing and re-affirming of my role as an active player in life.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Getting to the Crux of the Matter

The problem with Islam is that it sees itself as the final revelation that replaces and thereby supersedes the monotheistic understandings of earlier theologies (Judaism and Christianity). While Christianity went through a similar phase during the dark, medieval and early renaissance periods this initiative lost steam with the passage of the reformation, enlightenment and nationalistic phases that characterized western history.

 The Religious Wars, the French Revolution and Germany’s Kulturkampf negated clerical zeal replacing it temporarily with excessive nationalism and destructive socialism that culminated in the two world wars. However it also allowed as well in the long term for the necessary growth of liberal democracy and free markets that have guaranteed the standard of living and openness to debate that we enjoy today.

 Islam in a sense remained frozen in time, wedded to an ideology grounded in medieval simplicity, it essentially escaped the age of reason and now struggles as an unwanted anachronism in the modern world. Unlike Judaism and Christianity, which have opened themselves up to critical intellectual interpretation, Islam continues to resist this trend.

 While there are a select few who have tried with an honesty to breach this barrier, the bulk of the discourse and certainly its mainstream voice is dominated by an orthodoxy not far removed from the expansionist belief that characterized Islam’s rapid ascendancy in the latter part of the first millennium. However as a belief system, Islam does bring in some positive attributes from Judaism and Christianity. It incorporated into its ethos charity and prayer both of which have origins in the Torah and it does champion equality before God.

 Where I think Islam deviates most from the other two religions is in its central core teaching of submission. In fact the word Islam means submission. This is a dangerous tenet, in that it discourages questioning of God, the necessary wrestling with the higher power that Abraham, Jacob and Moses exemplified. It is in this wrestling that we most exercise our free will, the philosophical notion that makes us human.

 The first great initiative in a real Islamic revolution would be to reject the submission notion, a necessary step towards clear thought and enlightenment.

Oil Dependency spurs on the Islamist Threat

The spread of Islamofascism will not abate so long as the world keeps pandering to the duplicitous oil regimes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Iran. Arabists and their ilk in the US state department have seen to it that this trend will continue and certainly have allies on Capitol Hill and the White House.The Keystone pipeline and some of the Fracking initiatives will reduce foreign oil dependency, that seem to be at the root of this overt blind spot but it is imperative that energy alternatives are looked at more comprehensively. Both Democrats and Republicans have let America down by their partisan politics in this regard. What is needed is urgent investment in super capacitors, a return to the hard science and a de-emphasis on the global warming hysteria that has poisoned debate and detracted from the here and now of practical solutions.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Support for Israel

One must be cautioned into believing that support for Israel is strictly a right/left issue. In the US it is convenient to break down into such a dichotomy that is expressed in the Republican/Democrat divide and there is a risk that support for Israel should be split along such a meridian. The survival of Israel as the only true democratic country in the middle east transcends such classification and hinges on a moral clarity that is expressed by members of each party and opposed by others. Those eager to champion the Republicans as bearers of the positive torch should note that many in the GOP fold viz. Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush Sr had mixed records with respect to Israel while Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton stood out from the crowd. Granted Obama appears to be lukewarm on the issue but then Dubya was quicker to criticize Israel on the Jenin raids than Obama has been in Gaza. While there are Democrat congressmen who have been stood out with their rhetoric against Israel, Dennis Kucinich and Keith Ellinson come to mind, the Republicans have the equally vile Darrel Issa and Walter Jones to bring to this context.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Philip Weiss - Useful Idiot Supreme

The internet is awash with a cacophony of Jews who feel that they need to add to the anti-semitism of the world by spewing venom against Israel. One of the top offenders has to be the loathsome Philip Weiss, who never has a kind word to say about Israel but is full of cheer for Israel's enemies. At his cesspool of a site, Mondoweiss, Weiss trumps his bile to the approval of rabid israel haters who can barely contain their enthusiasm when Jews are killed. While Weiss likes to portray himself as an independent voice on the Middle East (something the 'critical thinkers' at Salon Ragazine have fallen for), the reality is that the only phenomenon that Weiss' one sided analysis is not dependent on is REASON. He presents an orgy of misconceptions and skewed analysis that does nothing to promote understanding and must take credit like other useful idiots such as Max Blumenthal, Richard Silverstein and Noam Chomsky for making anti-semitism acceptable again. Well done Philip...You have truely earned your spurs as a modern day Kapo.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

World Cup Final

The World Cup has had more than its fair share of twists and turns but the final features two teams whose odds of reaching the ultimate stage were high. As much as I would like Messi to shine, and earn the accolades that he deserves, the Germans seem the more likely team to walk away with the trophy. For one the Europeans are strong in every position and have an attacking zest that arises from their midfield which has proved unstoppable. While the Argentinians are better defensively than they were four years ago they are still vulnerable to a strong attack and are often too reliant on Messi for creativity up front. I am predicting a German win but we will have to wait and see.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Palestinian Psycopathy revealed by gutless murders

There is a definite evil, a psychological darkness, that runs through the collective consciousness of Palestinian Society.The abduction and subsequent execution of the three Israeli teens represents a depravity that is so cold in its deliberation that it can only be described as sickening. The Itamar massacre in March of 2011 was another example of such a psycopathy as were the numerous suicide bombings directed at civilian targets throughout the last decade. As much as I would like to see a peaceful resolution to this crisis I am extremely pessimistic about such an outcome. The Palestinians seem to be driven by hatred of Jews, which seems to be in grained in their psyche from a young age. The killings are a manifestation of this cradle-to-grave loathing that seems to be impermeable to reason and despite the smokescreen of diplomacy lurks behind the actions of even the so-called 'moderates'.

World Cup Predictions III

I hit 7 out of 8 on the Round of 16 Projections (I erred on the Costa Rica Result) but I am predicting that both Argentina and the Netherlands will win today. It looks as though Neymar will be out for the rest of the tournament but I can still see Brazil reaching the Final. Brazil v Argentina next Sunday...if that is the case I will be cheering for the latter. It would be incredible to see Messi lift a World Cup Trophy to re-confirm his status as the Greatest Player in the History of the Game.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

World Cup Predictions II

Round of 16 looms huge on the World Cup stage. In the pool that I am entered in I predicted that a Suarez-less Uruguay would come up short against Colombia as the brilliance of James Rodriguez continues to astound and so it was to be.The Golden Boot battle will continue to electrify the footer world with Messi, Robben, van Persie and Neymar solidly placed in the mix as well. Brazil were disappointing and I really expected them to defeat the Chileans in regular time. In fact it was Chile that was unlucky not to win after the power shot from Mauricio Pinilla rattled the cross bar. Brazil will really have to up it if they hope to beat Colombia in the quarters. Neymar had a mediocre game and Hulk was clearly their best offensive threat. For the rest of the round I believe that the Dutch will beat Mexico, Greece should see off Costa Rica, Argentina will beat Switzerland, Belgium will end the run of the US, Germany will send Algeria packing and the French will bid adieu to Nigeria.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More from Terror Inc.

It appears that ISIS is being funded by sources in the Gulf States. The US State Department has been a bit hush-hush on the issue as it historically is loathe to rock the boat with the Saudis or Qataris (money talks after all). Yet the tentacles of Riyadh and Doha are not too far away. Duplicity is a key theme in Middle Eastern Politics and the Saudis/Qataris while pretending to be American 'Allies' (remember the Scorpion on the back of the frog tale) are at the same time using ISIS as an extended force to weaken Iranian influence in both Syria and Iraq. The US should back up Baghdad with arms support (not troops) if only to stave off further ISIS success. At the same time it should pressure the Saudis to come clean about their actions. The first plan of action may yet see the light of day, the latter seems unlikely.

Sell Suarez...A Plea from a Liverpool fan

As much as I admire Luis Suarez's goalscoring skills (he surely is one of the top five players in the world today) his biting behaviour in the otherwise dull Uruguay v Italy game must be wholeheartedly condemnded. This is the third time in his career that Suarez has been guilty of such stupidity and I hope that Liverpool (the club I support) will see fit to sell him to either Real Madrid or Barcelona. The Reds could do with the cash, especially if it is sweetened by a pot that may include Karim Benzema or Alexis Sanchez. Liverpool will also benefit by ridding themselves of the headache that characterizes the actions of this manboy and the added money could be well spent by investing in a plethora of young stars viz. Lallana, Shaw et al.

Monday, June 23, 2014

IRS...Missing E-mails

The lost IRS E-mails/Lois Lerner scandal is both tragic and hilarious. I wonder if you could use the same argument when your tax file goes 'missing'? Not sure which IT departments are worse that of the IRS, the consultants developing the Obamacare website or those responsible for safeguarding the computer accounts for The University of East Anglia climate science crew?

The Left was wrong..WMDs did exist in Iraq

The ongoing ISIS advance in Iraq has revealed that Saddam Hussein did indeed possess Weapons of Mass Destruction(WMDs). The terror group is now in control of the Al-Muthanna facility that is less than one hundred kilometers north of Baghdad. Al-Muthanna is believed to be a site that developed both sarin and mustard gas for use by Iraqi troops in the Iraq-Iran War. How this site escaped inspection prior to the US invasion of Iraq is anyone's guess? Will the left apologize for this error on the WMD front? Not likely...they never apologized for being wrong on the Petraeus driven Iraqi surge to begin with so holding one's breath here is most certainly futile. For more read http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/06/20/isis-now-in-control-of-saddams-notorious-1980s-chemical-weapons-complex-with-sarin-and-mustard-gas/

World Cup Update June 23

As predicted Brazil and Mexico are through in that respective order. The Dutch did well although they left it late to beat Chile and Spain salvaged pride by mauling the Aussies who return home with a record that does not do justice to their otherwise admirable performance (they led the Dutch 2-1 at one point in their clash). Portugal kept Iberian hopes alive yesterday but look like a shadow of the 2006 team that made it to the final four eight years ago. Ronaldo is not fully fit and it shows. The US could do some damage and may put a wrench in my predictions on this front (I had Germany and Ghana going through from the so-called Group of Death). Neymar now has four goals to his credit and if Brazil go far he could be the most likely Golden Boot winner. I am not a huge fan of this Brazilian team. It pales in comparison to the team of 2002, let alone 82 or 70 and seems like a facsimile of the 94 squad that groaned their way to victory. Nevertheless it is results that count and this Brazilian squad seems likely to trudge on to success carried on by the inertia of home field advantage,

Sunday, June 22, 2014

PIty the Nation...Pity the Fools who run it...

The countdown to the end of the worst US Presidency in history is on..if one still had doubts on the positive efficacy of this current administration in the foreign realm the trade of five high profile terrorists for a deserter must put this to rest. The US appears weaker than ever in international eyes...it bungled the gains of the Iraqi surge, dropped the ball in Afghanistan, helped spread Jihadist aims via an ill-conceived endorsement of the Arab Spring, set up an Islamist group in Libya, allowed itself to be duped by Pakistan, and has shown itself to be inept at clamping down on tne stealth campaign by Islamists in the US, who have used political correctdness and a compliant mainstream media to checkmate anti-Jihadist efforts across the country. However I am not convinced from what I have seen that Republicans would be much better...they too have bought into the narcotic of political relativism and have allowed the Saudi snake to undermine the moral credibility of the party. The Obama administration is a disgrace but until the US wakes from its slumber...chooses right from wrong and stops giving a free pass to evil one can expect more of the same to follow.

Iraq...let it transition to a three state 'stability'

The rise of ISIS in Iraq brings the country closer to a Shi'ite/Sunni War. I don't have sympathy for either side but I do not wish for the country to slide into a war. Should the US intervene? I don't believe that it is in American interests to do so. While it is clear that Obama's premature evacuation of American forces, folllowing the gains of the 2007 surge, may have exasperated the condition it is in everyone's interest to allow local parties to sort this out themselves. Iran will do their best to support Shi'ite interests and will most likely supply enough ground support to nullify the Sunni Jihadists (as they did in Syria). The end result may be the division of Iraq into three sectors: Kurdish (which is already de facto), Sunni and Shi'ite which seems to be the most natural breakup of this region anyway.

Suarez to Barcelona for 50+ million pounds + Alexis Sanchez

As a Liverpool fan I would take this in a second. Sanchez is worth about 30 million pounds and comes with less baggage than Suarez. Liverpool can buy three players with that cash. A forward line of Sanchez, Sturridge, Lambert and Borini should be more than a threat next year. I can't see this being a great move for Suarez...he will have to play third fiddle to Messrs. Messi and Neymar in Catalonia. Not only that but Barcelona are a team in transition..it looks as though they have lost Xavi and Iniesta is on the downside...without an adequate supply line it doesn't matter who you have up front.

World Cup Predictions I

This tournament is all over the place. I thought England performed as expected in Group C and were unlucky not to take at least one point from their opening two games. I am still picking them to beat Costa Rica with Uruguay and Italy playing to a draw. Final standings - First Place Costa Rica...Second Place Italy. Brazil and Mexico should emerge from Group A with the hosts topping the group (sorry Croatia fans..I know the win against Cameroon got you all excited). The Dutch will top group B at the expense of Chile while the Spaniards will salvage some pride when they beat Australia. Colombia and Ivory Coast will move through from Group C, with the tournanent's most boring team (Greece) relegated to the nether regions Group E has France written all over it but Ecuador will pip Switzerland to the second spot. In Group F Argentina will emerge with Nigeria following close behind. The Iranians will seize third spot with a win over Bosnia (who can pride themselves on a decent rookie campaign) Group G will favour Germany who will beat the US to capture top spot. Second spot will be a toss up. I am picking Ghana to take it after they arise from the dead to defeat a limp Portugal. Group H..the group of sleep...Belgium to win with Russia in second place.

Monday, February 17, 2014

12 Great Questions to think about

An oldie but a goldie.... 1. Why is there something as opposed to nothing? 2. What are the limits of science? Has Cartesian Reductionism neared its level of usefulness? How do we incorporate the whole into our thinking? 3. How does complexity arise? Why is the sum of the parts so often less than the whole? 4. Is Randomness an illusion? 5. How are the Laws of Physics carried? 6. What is the relationship between consciousness, free will and the Anthropic Principle? 7. To what extent are we boxed in by our definitions of scientific terms? Discrete versus Continuous understanding of nature. 8. Why and how are we bound by perceived linearity? 9. The Subjective versus the Objective….Will Objectivism disappear altogether? 10. Why do systems become stable? How is this stability rocked? Is there an overall march toward a new zone? Is stability real or imaginary? 11. Why is our Mathematics limited? 12. What is an event? What comes together to make an event?

Quick Comment of the Day 2

There is no knowledge so powerful that an incompetent teacher can’t ruin it for their students.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Words from a Maverick

I live in a milieu, as an educator, where I am exclusively surrounded by individuals who hold views to the left of me. This is hardly surprising as modern liberalism has shifted in a direction that makes it more akin to social-democracy than anything else and most teachers are modern liberals by self-imposed definition.I have maintained my course even as the centrist paradigm has gravitated leftward. Detractors would say that I sam a slave to inertia but I choose to reject this categorization.I identify as a Classic liberal as it balances, with the required skepticism, both the excesses of each wing of the political spectrum. It is a philosophy rooted in reason, true to the enlightenment but scornful of the anarchism of the Romantics. It champions measured change and flies roughshod over unproven radicalism. Classic liberalism is not a flavor of the day philosophy, it has a proud history that originates from English liberalism and at its very core is the cherished concepts of freedom of speech, thought and action. Modern liberalism, in contrast, dances with dialectic materialism and is therefore corrupted by the veil of socialist groupthink. It has lost the essence of what it is to be liberal by exchanging the primacy of the individual for that of the collective. It is not a philosophy of tolerance, as is evidenced by the hysteria that is all too often directed against those who deviate from its dogma. Maybe one can see Modern Liberalism as a cacophony of nanny state voices, but what cannot be denied is the success of this idealism in broad swiping opposition, to establish its almost universal acceptance in education. This is a tragedy as it has blighted the diversity of opinion that should be a source of our intellectual strength. Sadly there are a few who see it this way. Perhaps it's the suffocation of the medium that has done it to them, or maybe it's the comfort of accepting the 'IS'.......I am not sure. Whatever the cause I am grateful the light has not been snuffed out so myself, like a few others, can with our hearts and deeds still resist the predominant orthodoxy.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

FDR - Going beyond the myth

Why is FDR so lionized as a President? He subverted democracy by loading SCOTUS with his cronies, forced through the New Deal which actually delayed the economic recovery (many New Deal type programs were also the brainchild of the previous Hoover administration), interned Japanese Americans, clamped down on giving refuge to Holocaust victims and refused to bomb railways to the death camps. In addition he underestimated the both the brutality of Stalin and Uncle Joe’s ambitions, thereby dooming most of Eastern Europe to brutal Soviet domination. Yes, he did go to war to save the West but in reality he didn’t have much of a choice after Pearl Harbour. Hitler also made is easy for FDR by declaring war on the US only four days after this (arguably one of the biggest follies of the war). I will give FDR credit for Cash-and-Carry and Lend Lease but I think his status has been blown out of proportion by apologists such as Arthur Schlesinger. I believe that Harry Truman was a far superior president.

The US needs to let the Arab World solve their own problems

While there are some holding out for a long term improvement in Middle-East politics as a result of the Arab Spring, what is most evident is that the gains that have accrued to date have have come at too high a price. One could very easily argue that the Middle East is in fact worse now than it has been with both Syria and Egypt emeshed in Civil War. With his Cairo speech and his cheerleading of the Anti-Mubarak drivers, Obama must take on some responsibility for the debacle (his lack of common sense and political street knowledge were abysmal)and the arena is worse now for his ill-conceived interference.

Quick Comment of the Day 1 - Topic Obamacare

Obamacare is so convoluted that it makes the Byzantines seem like a bunch of Anarchists. It is the political equivalent of trench warfare. In WWI hordes of soldiers with much casualties were used to overwhelm a position with brute force alone. In Obamacare the public is beaten into a punch drunk acceptance by a level of bureaucracy that no sane human can be expected to figure out.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Star Wars is Evil....There I said it

I grew up in the generation that Star Wars was custom made for. At the age of eight I remember sitting with my jaw at ground level, mouth drooling, fixated on a universe that was simply unbelievable. If I had been moved to a utopia, this was it. That was then. My enthusiasm continued as I submerged myself in the somewhat duller Empire Strikes Back and the trilogy’s concluding episode Return of the Jedi. Years later when Lucas released these three with a few modifications I sat through them again with a healthy nostalgia. Jedi had taken over from a New Hope as my personal favourite and Empire seemed a slightly less disjoined than the time that I saw it as a kid. However the series had dropped remarkably in my overall esteem, the magic was tarnished and I couldn’t believe how insipid both the plot lines and acting were. Of course I was of an older age – one cannot dismiss that variable – but compared to the Science Fiction of the British Comic World – Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper – not to mention the alternative Blade Runner or Dystrophic films, Star Wars looked remarkably inferior - at least by a parsec or two. In fact it was downright awful. I watched the prequels (hoping for a broader salvation) but loathed all three. The second was particularly bad and I cursed the fact that I had been duped, even at a young age by Lucas’ space odyssey of junk. Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan, was dismissive of Star Wars in his personal writing and rightfully so. The series was a gigantic con job, that used the brilliance of special effects to hide its glaring flaws. Nothing of substance emerges from the Star Wars – it is a massive cliché but worse than that is morally questionable something the masses who bathe in its sub-culture almost never admit. In A New Hope, Darth Vader carries out an unspeakable genocide, the destruction of the planet Alderaan. I remember even as a kid being shocked by that. Lets put this in context for a second – History is replete with its evil despots – Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot – all of them carried out massive genocides but none of them destroyed a planet and all of its inhabitants….not even close. Yet Vader does this in a matter of minutes… and we are exposed to it as a matter-of-fact. Of course its part of the story but get this …once Vader comes clean and has the dark side’s hold over him broken (in Jedi)..we are now supposed to cheer for this villain, sympathize with him as he takes his place alongside Obi-Wan and Yoda in the pantheon of Jedi. In fact Luke Skywalker ceremonially honours this genocidal lunatic in a funeral ceremony…Talk about turning your back on evil….What about all his victims? Was this monster not responsible for destruction in the billions (a likely estimate range for planetary populations)? But Lucas wants us to forget this because he (Vader) did the honourable ‘thing’ and saved his son. Frikkin Hell…story or no story!…fiction or not!…Does this not show how morally decrepit Lucas’ universe is? Now one could argue that I am wasting too much bytes on this line of thought (ink is so 20th century) …but unfortunately the Star Wars super meme has infected our collective conscious in a manner that is extremely pervasive… Kids know more about such asinine lines… as ‘I am your father Luke’ and ‘Use the force’ than the words of Churchill, Schweitzer or King. Adults dress up in Vader costumes…and when questioned about this will retort with a line such as Vader is the ‘ultimate bad ass’….which begs the next question where does that leave Genghis Khan who ‘only’ redrew the face of Eurasia?…A third-tier bad ass perhaps. Ideas drive action and Lucas has a twisted calculus that he has sold to the rest of us. Disney and Lego will of course further entrench this nonsense in the next generation’s mind set. It’s a further statement on the sad reality of a truism that we overlook as we amuse ourselves to oblivion. Now where did I put my son’s double headed light sabre that his grandparents got him.