Friday, September 29, 2006

Fun with manhattan rants & raves classifieds and want ads - craigslist

Below is a set of correspondence with a religionist that took issue with me over wiberals he perceived to be atheistic.

Good times.


Khaled T. wrote:

It is a fact that Hitler and his Nazi thugs were atheist, and their
ultimate goal was the irradication of all religion including

Yet they adopted one of the most ancient religious ideograms as their main party symbol?

What's up with that?

Sounds like a typical Karl Rove tactic to me.

Yes, it's true that they worked their way up the religious food chain and Catholics and Protestants might have next after they dealt with what they called "the Jewish Problem," but make no mistake, irregardless of what they thought of religion they did use the sanctioned churches of their era to manipulate the German people for their own nefarious ends.

That's part of the reason my Grandfather was allowed to keep his Martin Luther Kirche ministry for as long as he did, they needed him and others like him, despite his anti-Hitler activities.

That and he knew Russian and the only reason I exist to type this reply is that he was compelled to translate for them when they turned on the Soviet.

The Nazis may have been psychotic but they weren't stupid.

I believe it was Emerson that said "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

The link you posted is a Liberal website.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

There are links there that link to the original White Rose Pamphlets that are quite prominently placed, and while Craigslist is a cross-section of the American public not everybody on there is an idiot and is quite able to think for themselves and separate the wheat from the chaff.

It is known that libs are
not famous for their faith in G-d.

What of it?

The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy is a wiberal with a radio talk show, and there are plenty of other wiberals out there who are church-going, god-fearing folk, so please don't bother me with sweeping generalities.

Let's not forget the role of the wiberal churches in this country during the Civil Rights movement, either.

Dr. Martin Luther King comes to mind.

Besides, what do you find more frightening?

A group of powerless, atheistic wiberals with a low traffic website that offend your divine sensibilities?

Or, a Fundamentalist Christian Air Force Academy trained crew at the helm of a Stealth B-2 bomber, armed with live nuclear weapons, that believe that they're on a 'Mission From God'?

Unlike the 9/11 homiciders they won't have to hijack the plane, or worry about the air traffic controllers, because they too are Fundamentalist Christians and therefore on the same team and believe in the mission.

How much do you want to bet that they'd do a lot more damage than those 19 retards did if they had a chance to act on their faith in god?

The White Rose had great faith in
G-d, hence the link of the website misrepresents and demeans both the
memory and the intent of the G-d fearing, G-d loving, original,
authentic White Rose resistant group.

Look, if you want to have a discussion of faith with me you need to consider this this preacher Grandfather of mine was Søren Kierkegaard's official German translator.

One of the books he translated was called 'Fear and Trembling,' a meditation on the subject of faith keyed on the Old Testament story of God ordering Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.

I'm sure you've heard of it, being that you've no doubt read the bible from cover to cover.

(If you haven't, here's a helpful guide for you: )

Anyways, this Grandfather of mine was in Dresden on Valentine's Day 1945 when the Allied bombers turned it into a sheet of melted glass.
(100+ members of my family died that day in the firebombing, which did roughly 1,000 times the damage in civilian people, refugees, and property as our 9/11 attacks. It took them 60 years to rebuild the city.)

His response?

He kept his ministry until the day he died 30 years later.

If that's not a show of faith, I don't know what is and so excuse me, Khaled, I have very little patience with those who wish to broach the subject of faith with me.

For myself, I've got issues with a God that's into killing small children to test people and gets off on animal sacrifice as the God of Abraham most certainly did.

Here's some suggested reading on the subject for you:

This website is a sham and ought to be embarrassed of itself for
abusing the the Holy memory of these True Believers!!!!!!!

Right there with you.

But before we start judging these wiberals and start lining these evil atheistic wiberals up against the wall and shooting them, let's start with some of the more egregious abusers of faith first, like the Taliban, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and any others that anger you more, of which I'm sure there are many.

Here's some more reading for you, my friend:

If you've got any intelelctual honesty, or curiosity, there are plenty of other links on that site for you to explore the subject further, as well as a link to a forum where you are free to go to let them know what heathens they are.

You have you a nice day, Khaled, my friend.

Shalom* and peace,



You said:

re: White Rose

Holy shit, my East German mom wore a White Rose on her wedding day in
Munich in 1962.

Never connected that with this, despite my Preacher grandfather from
Dresden, a friend and contemporary of Thomas Mann, (so he must have
known these people too), standing up to and warning people about
Hitler in the 1930s, long before it was fashionable.

Hell, it took our US Government until 1942 to sanction George Bush's
grandfather, Prescott Bush, for doing business with the Nazis.

Anyhow, the video has practically zero information for a modern day
New York audience and it might help if you offered some background on
what they were about, like this:

You're welcome.

Free Mike Malloy!!!

this message was remailed to you via:

* My mom work as a restitutions claims expeditor for those who survived the Nazi death camps and her work generated roughly 500 million dollars for these people, so if you want to get on me for using a Jewish word, you're barking up the wrong tree. Again, you have you a nice day, my friend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"You Can Still Smell The Sulphur....."

Chavez Address to the United Nations
by Hugo Chavez
Address to the UN
New York
September 20, 2006

Representatives of the governments of the world, good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it.

Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, 'Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States.'" [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.] "It's an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what's happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet.

The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time," [flips through the pages, which are numerous] "I will just leave it as a recommendation.

It reads easily, it is a very good book, I'm sure Madame [President] you are familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house.

The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house.

"And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." [crosses himself] "And it smells of sulfur still today.

Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.

I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.

An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: "The Devil's Recipe."

As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.

The world parent's statement -- cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.

They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.

What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.

What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?

The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in this room, and I'm quoting, "Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and martyrdom."

Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother -- he looks at your color, and he says, oh, there's an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.

The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists. It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over. And people are standing up.

I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.

Yes, you can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire, against the model of domination.

The president then -- and this he said himself, he said: "I have come to speak directly to the populations in the Middle East, to tell them that my country wants peace."

That's true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want? Does it want peace? They'll say yes.

But the government doesn't want peace. The government of the United States doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war.

It wants peace. But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? In Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last 100 years in Latin America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela -- new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?

He spoke to the people of Lebanon. Many of you, he said, have seen how your homes and communities were caught in the crossfire. How cynical can you get? What a capacity to lie shamefacedly. The bombs in Beirut with millimetric precision?

This is crossfire? He's thinking of a western, when people would shoot from the hip and somebody would be caught in the crossfire.

This is imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal, the empire and Israel firing on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. That is what happened. And now we hear, "We're suffering because we see homes destroyed.'

The president of the United States came to talk to the peoples -- to the peoples of the world. He came to say -- I brought some documents with me, because this morning I was reading some statements, and I see that he talked to the people of Afghanistan, the people of Lebanon, the people of Iran. And he addressed all these peoples directly.

And you can wonder, just as the president of the United States addresses those peoples of the world, what would those peoples of the world tell him if they were given the floor? What would they have to say?

And I think I have some inkling of what the peoples of the south, the oppressed people think. They would say, "Yankee imperialist, go home." I think that is what those people would say if they were given the microphone and if they could speak with one voice to the American imperialists.

And that is why, Madam President, my colleagues, my friends, last year we came here to this same hall as we have been doing for the past eight years, and we said something that has now been confirmed -- fully, fully confirmed.

I don't think anybody in this room could defend the system. Let's accept -- let's be honest. The U.N. system, born after the Second World War, collapsed. It's worthless.

Oh, yes, it's good to bring us together once a year, see each other, make statements and prepare all kinds of long documents, and listen to good speeches, like Abel's yesterday, or President Mullah's . Yes, it's good for that.

And there are a lot of speeches, and we've heard lots from the president of Sri Lanka, for instance, and the president of Chile.

But we, the assembly, have been turned into a merely deliberative organ. We have no power, no power to make any impact on the terrible situation in the world. And that is why Venezuela once again proposes, here, today, 20 September, that we re-establish the United Nations.

Last year, Madam, we made four modest proposals that we felt to be crucially important. We have to assume the responsibility our heads of state, our ambassadors, our representatives, and we have to discuss it.

The first is expansion, and Mullah talked about this yesterday right here. The Security Council, both as it has permanent and non-permanent categories, (inaudible) developing countries and LDCs must be given access as new permanent members. That's step one.

Second, effective methods to address and resolve world conflicts, transparent decisions.

Point three, the immediate suppression -- and that is something everyone's calling for -- of the anti-democratic mechanism known as the veto, the veto on decisions of the Security Council.

Let me give you a recent example. The immoral veto of the United States allowed the Israelis, with impunity, to destroy Lebanon. Right in front of all of us as we stood there watching, a resolution in the council was prevented.

Fourthly, we have to strengthen, as we've always said, the role and the powers of the secretary general of the United Nations.

Yesterday, the secretary general practically gave us his speech of farewell. And he recognized that over the last 10 years, things have just gotten more complicated; hunger, poverty, violence, human rights violations have just worsened. That is the tremendous consequence of the collapse of the United Nations system and American hegemonistic pretensions.

Madam, Venezuela a few years ago decided to wage this battle within the United Nations by recognizing the United Nations, as members of it that we are, and lending it our voice, our thinking.

Our voice is an independent voice to represent the dignity and the search for peace and the reformulation of the international system; to denounce persecution and aggression of hegemonistic forces on the planet.

This is how Venezuela has presented itself. Bolivar's home has sought a nonpermanent seat on the Security Council.

Let's see. Well, there's been an open attack by the U.S. government, an immoral attack, to try and prevent Venezuela from being freely elected to a post in the Security Council.

The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices. It calls us extremists, but they are the extremists.

And I would like to thank all the countries that have kindly announced their support for Venezuela, even though the ballot is a secret one and there's no need to announce things.

But since the imperium has attacked, openly, they strengthened the convictions of many countries. And their support strengthens us.

Mercosur, as a bloc, has expressed its support, our brothers in Mercosur. Venezuela, with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, is a full member of Mercosur.

And many other Latin American countries, CARICOM, Bolivia have expressed their support for Venezuela. The Arab League, the full Arab League has voiced its support. And I am immensely grateful to the Arab world, to our Arab brothers, our Caribbean brothers, the African Union. Almost all of Africa has expressed its support for Venezuela and countries such as Russia or China and many others.

I thank you all warmly on behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of our people, and on behalf of the truth, because Venezuela, with a seat on the Security Council, will be expressing not only Venezuela's thoughts, but it will also be the voice of all the peoples of the world, and we will defend dignity and truth.

Over and above all of this, Madam President, I think there are reasons to be optimistic. A poet would have said "helplessly optimistic," because over and above the wars and the bombs and the aggressive and the preventive war and the destruction of entire peoples, one can see that a new era is dawning.

As Silvio Rodriguez says, the era is giving birth to a heart. There are alternative ways of thinking. There are young people who think differently. And this has already been seen within the space of a mere decade. It was shown that the end of history was a totally false assumption, and the same was shown about Pax Americana and the establishment of the capitalist neo-liberal world. It has been shown, this system, to generate mere poverty. Who believes in it now?

What we now have to do is define the future of the world. Dawn is breaking out all over. You can see it in Africa and Europe and Latin America and Oceanea. I want to emphasize that optimistic vision.

We have to strengthen ourselves, our will to do battle, our awareness. We have to build a new and better world.

Venezuela joins that struggle, and that's why we are threatened. The U.S. has already planned, financed and set in motion a coup in Venezuela, and it continues to support coup attempts in Venezuela and elsewhere.

President Michelle Bachelet reminded us just a moment ago of the horrendous assassination of the former foreign minister, Orlando Letelier.

And I would just add one thing: Those who perpetrated this crime are free. And that other event where an American citizen also died were American themselves. They were CIA killers, terrorists.

And we must recall in this room that in just a few days there will be another anniversary. Thirty years will have passed from this other horrendous terrorist attack on the Cuban plane, where 73 innocents died, a Cubana de Aviacion airliner.

And where is the biggest terrorist of this continent who took the responsibility for blowing up the plane? He spent a few years in jail in Venezuela. Thanks to CIA and then government officials, he was allowed to escape, and he lives here in this country, protected by the government.

And he was convicted. He has confessed to his crime. But the U.S. government has double standards. It protects terrorism when it wants to.

And this is to say that Venezuela is fully committed to combating terrorism and violence. And we are one of the people who are fighting for peace.

Luis Posada Carriles is the name of that terrorist who is protected here. And other tremendously corrupt people who escaped from Venezuela are also living here under protection: a group that bombed various embassies, that assassinated people during the coup. They kidnapped me and they were going to kill me, but I think God reached down and our people came out into the streets and the army was too, and so I'm here today.

But these people who led that coup are here today in this country protected by the American government. And I accuse the American government of protecting terrorists and of having a completely cynical discourse.

We mentioned Cuba. Yes, we were just there a few days ago. We just came from there happily.

And there you see another era born. The Summit of the 15, the Summit of the Nonaligned, adopted a historic resolution. This is the outcome document. Don't worry, I'm not going to read it.

But you have a whole set of resolutions here that were adopted after open debate in a transparent matter -- more than 50 heads of state. Havana was the capital of the south for a few weeks, and we have now launched, once again, the group of the nonaligned with new momentum.

And if there is anything I could ask all of you here, my companions, my brothers and sisters, it is to please lend your good will to lend momentum to the Nonaligned Movement for the birth of the new era, to prevent hegemony and prevent further advances of imperialism.

And as you know, Fidel Castro is the president of the nonaligned for the next three years, and we can trust him to lead the charge very efficiently.

Unfortunately they thought, "Oh, Fidel was going to die." But they're going to be disappointed because he didn't. And he's not only alive, he's back in his green fatigues, and he's now presiding the nonaligned.

So, my dear colleagues, Madam President, a new, strong movement has been born, a movement of the south. We are men and women of the south.

With this document, with these ideas, with these criticisms, I'm now closing my file. I'm taking the book with me. And, don't forget, I'm recommending it very warmly and very humbly to all of you.

We want ideas to save our planet, to save the planet from the imperialist threat. And hopefully in this very century, in not too long a time, we will see this, we will see this new era, and for our children and our grandchildren a world of peace based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations, but a renewed United Nations.

And maybe we have to change location. Maybe we have to put the United Nations somewhere else; maybe a city of the south. We've proposed Venezuela.

You know that my personal doctor had to stay in the plane. The chief of security had to be left in a locked plane. Neither of these gentlemen was allowed to arrive and attend the U.N. meeting. This is another abuse and another abuse of power on the part of the Devil. It smells of sulfur here, but God is with us and I embrace you all.

May God bless us all. Good day to you.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

MediaBloodhound: Op-Ed Columns: My City, Our President and Exploiting 9/11

Generally I don't like quoting someone's work in toto but in this case I'm making an exception because as a native New York City person I don't know what else to do over the desecration that we as a Nation have undergone this week by these craven fucks.

MediaBloodhound: Op-Ed Columns: My City, Our President and Exploiting 9/11

This site normally keeps the “I” to a minimum. In general, the personal occurrences of my life have nothing to do with chronicling and commenting on the entrenched myth of liberal media bias and bringing to light stories that receive little or no attention. But I have lived in New York City for over half my life, and, until today, I couldn't bring myself to write about 9/11. You could say George W. Bush made me do it. In the midst of his ongoing exploitation of this tragedy, from which, in the five years since, his administration has found - through fear mongering, disinformation and McCarthyite attacks - only opportunity to advance its fascist agenda, I humbly present this personal response.

Five years ago today, I stood on the roof of my Brooklyn apartment and watched in horror as the World Trade Center towers choked on monstrous plumes of black smoke before tumbling from a deceptively welcoming blue sky. Later that day, a gray snow fell on my neighborhood, a powdery substance born of the soot and ashes of planes and buildings and the people who had been in them. It coated parked cars lining the blocks, the streets on which they stood and those of us who spoke to one another outside on our stoops, still in shock, our conversations as though taking place in a nightmare from which we hoped to wake.

I was one of the fortunate ones. I was alive.

Nor did I lose a family member or friend. Though I knew friends of friends who had. I was also spared the experience of some friends who lived down by the towers, who not only saw people leaping from them but heard the bodies thud on their rooftops. Their lives were forever changed.

As was our city.

In the days and months following 9/11, the city mourned and wept communally. Literally. Death and loss abounded. Photos of missing mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, and sons and daughters stared out from the walls of buildings and trunks of trees. The stench of death and chemicals from Ground Zero clung to the air, a constant reminder of what had happened. We smelled it during the day, fell asleep to it at night and woke to it in the morning. An eerie stillness permeated our subway cars. Not the everyday quietude of strangers caught up in their own lives, but the inwardness of the bereaved. Open, uncontrollable grieving was commonplace on those rides underground. A passenger who initially seemed only fatigued, holding his head in his hands, would often reveal in the next moment a face creased in despair and streaked with tears. I can’t tell you how many times I witnessed this then. I can only tell you I’ve known no greater sadness than to countenance another human being in so much psychic pain, with which everyone around him can empathize but not relieve.

In addition to inspiring grief and fear of what might follow, the direct aftermath of the attacks on 9/11 instinctually stirred an urge for retribution. A desire to hold those responsible for these murders accountable for their actions. Correctly, many have pointed out that the Bush administration squandered the goodwill and unity offered by the international community in the wake of these attacks. But for those who supported George W. Bush’s subsequent war on terror and, incredulously, for those who still do, it’s high time they come to terms with what is now undeniable: the Bush administration, for all of its blusterous rhetoric, was never concerned about bringing those who perpetrated 9/11 to justice, or, for that matter, about taking substantive measures to prevent future attacks. Both of these points are manifest, respectively, in this administration’s decision to attack Iraq when it should have focused on tracking down Osama and its fecklessness, as judged by the 9/11 commission and every leading terrorism expert, to enact common sense anti-terrorism safeguards.

As a result, more than just squandering goodwill, the Bush administration, in effect, aided the assailants who struck us by diverting our nation’s attention from them, and pumped us with fear every day for five straight years while negligently leaving us wide open to further attack.

Moreover, whereas an administration that truly valued the sanctity of human life, rather than merely claiming to do so, would seek to attack only those responsible for 9/11, this White House, from cluster-bombing Afghanistan to shock-and-awing Iraq to sitting idly by while Israel recently leveled civilian populations in Lebanon, seeks neither to protect the lives of innocents nor satisfy any concept of justice.

Let me also sum up this administration’s overriding message for the last five years:


The purest form of propaganda this country’s ever seen.

Five years of war for peace. Ancient torture practices and secret gulags in the name of protecting human life. Unconstitutional intrusion of privacy and curbing of free speech in the name of ensuring liberty. Deploying our soldiers in a war of choice with insufficient body armor as evidence of support for our troops. Openly mocking any nation who disagreed with its agenda as evidence of strong leadership.

All of this would be infuriating and disheartening enough. But this administration’s affront to human decency knows no bounds.

Consequently, following a week in which our little dictator made a series of 9/11 speeches, small-minded sermons marked not by genuine mourning and empathy but by the fear mongering and truculence history will forever associate with his administration, he shuttled into the Big Apple yesterday for more of the same. With protestors held far from the cameras’ view, Bush laid two wreaths at Ground Zero before attending a church service across the street and then visiting a firehouse.

Outraged at everything this man has perpetrated in the name of answering the attacks on our city, I stood amid those protestors and began a chant that suddenly rose from my gut: “Stop exploiting 9/11! Stop exploiting 9/11!” Everyone around me immediately joined in. “Stop exploiting 9/11! Stop exploiting 9/11!” We soon found ourselves accentuating the natural and unexpected musical cadence of the phrase: “Stop exploit-ing nine-eleven! Stop exploit-ing nine-eleven!” Someone’s whistle kept tempo. Hands clapped in unison. “Stop exploit-ing nine-eleven! Stop exploit-ing nine-eleven!” Our voices rose above the hypocrisy of the scene, underscoring Bush’s false image of compassion that would grace television screens and newspapers and websites for days to come. Voices young and old, straining to overcome our restrained free speech. “Stop exploit-ing nine-eleven! Stop exploit-ing nine-eleven!” Voices sure to go unheard in the majority of news coverage.

After meeting with relatives of 9/11 victims yesterday, Bush expressed his depth of compassion: “It's hard not to think about people who lost their lives." He also didn’t miss another chance to beat the war drum during this crowning moment of exploitation: "I vowed that I'm never going to forget the lessons of that day. …So tomorrow is also a day of renewed resolve.” In his brilliant essay “The Unfeeling President," E.L. Doctorow said of Bush, “But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. …To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing.”

The lies, the abuse of power, the death and destruction in the name of democracy, the sheer criminality and greed and incompetence – all of it, from the days those towers fell to this very day five years later, is simply unconscionable. The men and women of this abjectly corrupt and contemptible administration, who call themselves Americans and have the unfathomable gall to impugn the patriotism of our citizens, who’ve promoted and perpetrated this hijacking of our country, should not only resign in shame and disgrace, but face the multiple criminal charges deserving of them if our country is to reclaim its soul.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Thucydides: Pericles' Funeral Oration

I could be live-blogging President Bush's speech right now but I find this past Oration For The Dead And Departed a bit more apropos.

On a side note, while this speech was given at the heighth of Athenian power, and while no one realized at the time, it actually marks the beginning of the end for them.

Let's hope that we don't share a similar fate.
Thucydides: Pericles' Funeral Oration

Most of those who have spoken here before me have commended the lawgiver who added this oration to our other funeral customs. It seemed to them a worthy thing that such an honor should be given at their burial to the dead who have fallen on the field of battle. But I should have preferred that, when men's deeds have been brave, they should be honored in deed only, and with such an honor as this public funeral, which you are now witnessing. Then the reputation of many would not have been imperiled on the eloquence or want of eloquence of one, and their virtues believed or not as he spoke well or ill. For it is difficult to say neither too little nor too much; and even moderation is apt not to give the impression of truthfulness. The friend of the dead who knows the facts is likely to think that the words of the speaker fall short of his knowledge and of his wishes; another who is not so well informed, when he hears of anything which surpasses his own powers, will be envious and will suspect exaggeration. Mankind are tolerant of the praises of others so long as each hearer thinks that he can do as well or nearly as well himself, but, when the speaker rises above him, jealousy is aroused and he begins to be incredulous. However, since our ancestors have set the seal of their approval upon the practice, I must obey, and to the utmost of my power shall endeavor to satisfy the wishes and beliefs of all who hear me.

I will speak first of our ancestors, for it is right and seemly that now, when we are lamenting the dead, a tribute should be paid to their memory. There has never been a time when they did not inhabit this land, which by their valor they will have handed down from generation to generation, and we have received from them a free state. But if they were worthy of praise, still more were our fathers, who added to their inheritance, and after many a struggle transmitted to us their sons this great empire. And we ourselves assembled here today, who are still most of us in the vigor of life, have carried the work of improvement further, and have richly endowed our city with all things, so that she is sufficient for herself both in peace and war. Of the military exploits by which our various possessions were acquired, or of the energy with which we or our fathers drove back the tide of war, Hellenic or Barbarian, I will not speak; for the tale would be long and is familiar to you. But before I praise the dead, I should like to point out by what principles of action we rose ~ to power, and under what institutions and through what manner of life our empire became great. For I conceive that such thoughts are not unsuited to the occasion, and that this numerous assembly of citizens and strangers may profitably listen to them.

Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. Our government does not copy our neighbors', but is an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while there exists equal justice to all and alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty an obstacle, but a man may benefit his country whatever the obscurity of his condition. There is no exclusiveness in our public life, and in our private business we are not suspicious of one another, nor angry with our neighbor if he does what he likes; we do not put on sour looks at him which, though harmless, are not pleasant. While we are thus unconstrained in our private business, a spirit of reverence pervades our public acts; we are prevented from doing wrong by respect for the authorities and for the laws, having a particular regard to those which are ordained for the protection of the injured as well as those unwritten laws which bring upon the transgressor of them the reprobation of the general sentiment.

And we have not forgotten to provide for our weary spirits many relaxations from toil; we have regular games and sacrifices throughout the year; our homes are beautiful and elegant; and the delight which we daily feel in all these things helps to banish sorrow. Because of the greatness of our city the fruits of the whole earth flow in upon us; so that we enjoy the goods of other countries as freely as our own.

Then, again, our military training is in many respects superior to that of our adversaries. Our city is thrown open to the world, though and we never expel a foreigner and prevent him from seeing or learning anything of which the secret if revealed to an enemy might profit him. We rely not upon management or trickery, but upon our own hearts and hands. And in the matter of education, whereas they from early youth are always undergoing laborious exercises which are to make them brave, we live at ease, and yet are equally ready to face the perils which they face. And here is the proof: The Lacedaemonians come into Athenian territory not by themselves, but with their whole confederacy following; we go alone into a neighbor's country; and although our opponents are fighting for their homes and we on a foreign soil, we have seldom any difficulty in overcoming them. Our enemies have never yet felt our united strength, the care of a navy divides our attention, and on land we are obliged to send our own citizens everywhere. But they, if they meet and defeat a part of our army, are as proud as if they had routed us all, and when defeated they pretend to have been vanquished by us all.

If then we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the better for it? Since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; thus our city is equally admirable in peace and in war. For we are lovers of the beautiful in our tastes and our strength lies, in our opinion, not in deliberation and discussion, but that knowledge which is gained by discussion preparatory to action. For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection. And they are surely to be esteemed the bravest spirits who, having the clearest sense both of the pains and pleasures of life, do not on that account shrink from danger. In doing good, again, we are unlike others; we make our friends by conferring, not by receiving favors. Now he who confers a favor is the firmer friend, because he would rather by kindness keep alive the memory of an obligation; but the recipient is colder in his feelings, because he knows that in requiting another's generosity he will not be winning gratitude but only paying a debt. We alone do good to our neighbors not upon a calculation of interest, but in the confidence of freedom and in a frank and fearless spirit. To sum up: I say that Athens is the school of Hellas, and that the individual Athenian in his own person seems to have the power of adapting himself to the most varied forms of action with the utmost versatility and grace. This is no passing and idle word, but truth and fact; and the assertion is verified by the position to which these qualities have raised the state. For in the hour of trial Athens alone among her contemporaries is superior to the report of her. No enemy who comes against her is indignant at the reverses which he sustains at the hands of such a city; no subject complains that his masters are unworthy of him. And we shall assuredly not be without witnesses; there are mighty monuments of our power which will make us the wonder of this and of succeeding ages; we shall not need the praises of Homer or of any other panegyrist whose poetry may please for the moment, although his representation of the facts will not bear the light of day. For we have compelled every land and every sea to open a path for our valor, and have everywhere planted eternal memorials of our friendship and of our enmity. Such is the city for whose sake these men nobly fought and died; they could not bear the thought that she might be taken from them; and every one of us who survive should gladly toil on her behalf.

I have dwelt upon the greatness of Athens because I want to show you that we are contending for a higher prize than those who enjoy none of these privileges, and to establish by manifest proof the merit of these men whom I am now commemorating. Their loftiest praise has been already spoken. For in magnifying the city I have magnified them, and men like them whose virtues made her glorious. And of how few Hellenes 1 can it be said as of them, that their deeds when weighed in the balance have been found equal to their fame! I believe that a death such as theirs has been the true measure of a man's worth; it may be the first revelation of his virtues, but is at any rate their final seal. For even those who come short in other ways may justly plead the valor with which they have fought for their country; they have blotted out the evil with the good, and have benefited the state more by their public services than they have injured her by their private actions. None of these men were enervated by wealth or hesitated to resign the pleasures of life; none of them put off the evil day in the hope, natural to poverty, that a man, though poor, may one day become rich. But, deeming that the punishment of their enemies was sweeter than any of these things, and that they could fall in no nobler cause, they determined at the hazard of their lives to be honorably avenged, and to leave the rest. They resigned to hope their unknown chance of happiness; but in the face of death they resolved to rely upon themselves alone. And when the moment came they were minded to resist and suffer, rather than to fly and save their lives; they ran away from the word of dishonor, but on the battlefield their feet stood fast, and in an instant, at the height of their fortune, they passed away from the scene, not of their fear, but of their glory.

Such was the end of these men; they were worthy of Athens, and the living need not desire to have a more heroic spirit, although they may pray for a less fatal issue. The value of such a spirit is not to be expressed in words. Any one can discourse to you for ever about the advantages of a brave defense, which you know already. But instead of listening to him I would have you day by day fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it, who in the hour of conflict had the fear of dishonor always present to them, and who, if ever they failed in an enterprise, would not allow their virtues to be lost to their country, but freely gave their lives to her as the fairest offering which they could present at her feast. The sacrifice which they collectively made was individually repaid to them; for they received again each one for himself a praise which grows not old, and the noblest of all tombs, I speak not of that in which their remains are laid, but of that in which their glory survives, and is proclaimed always and on every fitting occasion both in word and deed. For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. Make them your examples, and, esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war. The unfortunate who has no hope of a change for the better has less reason to throw away his life than the prosperous who, if he survive, is always liable to a change for the worse, and to whom any accidental fall makes the most serious difference. To a man of spirit, cowardice and disaster coming together are far more bitter than death striking him unperceived at a time when he is full of courage and animated by the general hope.

Wherefore I do not now pity the parents of the dead who stand here; I would rather comfort them. You know that your dead have passed away amid manifold vicissitudes; and that they may be deemed fortunate who have gained their utmost honor, whether an honorable death like theirs, or an honorable sorrow like yours, and whose share of happiness has been so ordered that the term of their happiness is likewise the term of their life. I know how hard it is to make you feel this, when the good fortune of others will too often remind you of the gladness which once lightened your hearts. And sorrow is felt at the want of those blessings, not which a man never knew, but which were a part of his life before they were taken from him. Some of you are of an age at which they may hope to have other children, and they ought to bear their sorrow better; not only will the children who may hereafter be born make them forget their own lost ones, but the city will be doubly a gainer. She will not be left desolate, and she will be safer. For a man's counsel cannot have equal weight or worth, when he alone has no children to risk in the general danger. To those of you who have passed their prime, I say: "Congratulate yourselves that you have been happy during the greater part of your days; remember that your life of sorrow will not last long, and be comforted by the glory of those who are gone. For the love of honor alone is ever young, and not riches, as some say, but honor is the delight of men when they are old and useless.

To you who are the sons and brothers of the departed, I see that the struggle to emulate them will be an arduous one. For all men praise the dead, and, however preeminent your virtue may be, I do not say even to approach them, and avoid living their rivals and detractors, but when a man is out of the way, the honor and goodwill which he receives is unalloyed. And, if I am to speak of womanly virtues to those of you who will henceforth be widows, let me sum them up in one short admonition: To a woman not to show more weakness than is natural to her sex is a great glory, and not to be talked about for good or for evil among men.

I have paid the required tribute, in obedience to the law, making use of such fitting words as I had. The tribute of deeds has been paid in part; for the dead have them in deeds, and it remains only that their children should be maintained at the public charge until they are grown up: this is the solid prize with which, as with a garland, Athens crowns her sons living and dead, after a struggle like theirs. For where the rewards of virtue are greatest, there the noblest citizens are enlisted in the service of the state. And now, when you have duly lamented, every one his own dead, you may depart.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

A War Of Equals

I'm a big fan of old school comic books that ran the 'What If...?' scenarios, the most famous of which is 'What If... Superman and Spiderman Co-Existed?" that ran in the late 1970's early 1980's, if memory serves.

With that in mind, here's a "What If....?" for you to consider.

Iraq, with its population of 25 million or so people is about one 10th the size of the United States.

Well, what if Iraq had the same population of the United States and the daily casuality rates remained constant?

In other words, when you read in the paper that 100 people were killed in a bombing in Baghdad today, that would translate into 1,000 people being killed instead of a hundred.

Now imagine what it would be like if 100 to a 1,000 people a day got killed in daily fighting in the United States?

Think we'd be a little upset with that, no matter how noble the intentions were of the oneswho started the war?

Just something to consider.

Days Left Until Bush Leaves Office, Maybe, Countown Clock