The Internets Veterans For Truth, And A Peek Inside Iraq

The Internets Veterans For Truth is an archive of electionally relevant or amusing video. They have bittorrents as well as direct downloads available.

In the “electionally relevant but not at all amusing” category is this video. It’s a little peek into the war in Iraq. You get to listen to and watch American soldiers kill people. And you have to think — George W. Bush is in large part responsible for both sides of this — for the sudden horrible death of those Iraqis, and for the fact that there are now a lot more Americans who have been put in a position where they have had to kill.

It’s not good for people to kill. It’s not good for people to die, but it’s not good for people to kill, either.

We’re up to 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians now, not counting Falluja (which could double that number) — that’s just the civilians. Is it worth it? Is it really worth it? Saddam was a terrible dictator, but at what point does the cure for Saddam become worse than the disease? Things are going to get worse there before they get better. We are fighting a land war in Asia against an insurgency which has popular sympathy and support. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

War is a bad idea. You should avoid war if you possibly can. There are usually better ways to get things done than fighting wars. This is a basic truth of life, that is completely lost on the Bush administration, because very few of them have ever actually been in a war, and many of them have taken steps to make sure that they personally didn’t have to serve even in the wars they supported.

Vote Kerry on Tuesday, OK?

Summing Up The Voter Fraud Situation

So what I’m hearing is:

  • On the Democrat side, some people may have been registering fake people to vote in Ohio. This could be because they intend to fraudulently cast votes, or it could be because they are being paid per voter they sign up and are trying to beef up their payout.

On the Republican side, we have…

  • Nationwide efforts to worsen already difficult voting conditions in poor, urban, minority (Democratic) areas by means of an army of “poll challengers” there to make sure any possible vote is blocked

  • many thousands of ballots for Democratic areas in Florida “conveniently” lost in the mail

  • Republican officials in Wisconsin denying Milwaukee adequate ballots on the theory that they could be used fraudulently

  • attempt to throw out Ohio new-voter registrations (largely anti-Bush) by a Republican bureaucrat in Ohio on the basis that they were printed on the wrong kind of paper (failed)

  • Directly Republican-funded organizations explicitly instructing their operatives to inquire about people’s party preference before offering to register them to vote, and only offering to sign them up if they’re Republican, and if they inadvertently sign up some Democrats, they shred their registrations so they’ll show up to vote and find they’re not registered.

  • The above organization lies about who they represent and what they’re doing.

  • Republipundits everywhere alleging Democratic voter fraud left and right on slim to no evidence, in a classic case of projection

  • Fraudulent “urgent advisory” letters in heavily Democratic areas of Ohio telling people that if they were registered to vote by a left-leaning organization they were probably registered illegally and they will not be able to vote this year.

Oh, you hadn’t heard about that one? The picture’s really priceless.

Yezidi: Followers of Malak Ta’us

wikipedia entry

I read about the Yezidi in Fortean Times a short time ago and found more information about them on the web. They live in Iraq, are Kurdish in origin and language, but have a culture and religion quite distinct from other Kurds. They literally worship a fallen angel — a reformed fallen angel. Malak Ta’us, a peacock spirit. When he repented, he filled seven jars with his tears, and used them to quench the fires of Hell. He created the world from the broken sharts of a perfect pearl created by the supreme God.

Link: Interview with David Tracy

This Side of God, an interview with David Tracy

SH: Even as your postmodern appropriation of Luther’s Hidden God invites the silenced and suffering to speak, so you believe that a recovery of the Incomprehensible God of the mystics, especially the apophatic and love mystics, can bring the repressed stories of the marginalized, the heretics, the dissenters, the fools, the martyrs, and the avant-garde artists back into the theological conversation. When they are invited to speak in their own terms, you have argued, they utter difference, transgression, and excess as an alternative discourse to “the deadening sameness and totalizing systems of modernity.” Is it then this criticism of modern totalizing systems that has turned your attention to “the fragment”?

DT: With Joyce and other modern critics we see the abandonment of a nostalgia for a lost totality. The peculiar form of the fragment first became important for artists, then for philosophers, and now for theologians. It is a form, a literary or religious form, that can challenge any totality system, especially the totalizing systems of modernity. There are three kinds of contemporary thinkers for whom the category “fragments” is crucial: the first, the radical conservatives see fragments with regret and nostalgia as all that is left of what was once a unified culture. The second, the postmodernists, see fragments as part of their love of extremes and thereby as emancipatory toward and transformative of the deadening hand of the reigning totality system, the rationality of modern onto-theology. The third group, of whom Walter Benjamin and Simone Weil are the most suggestive in the early twentieth century, see fragments theologically as saturated and auratic bearers of infinity and hope, fragmentary of genuine hope in some redemption, however undefined. I am most interested in Benjamin and Weil in developing my own theory of fragmented forms.

Whoa. Tracy is, I believe, a friend of Andrew M. Greeley’s, and Greeley’s theology is mostly taken from Tracy. Sounds like he’s going interesting places. Reminds me of the sorts of things that Bob Sweetman would talk about when he was my history prof back in the early 90s. In fact, the very bio I linked to just now mentions a paper of his called “Of Tall Tales and Small Stories: Postmodern ‘Fragmatics’ and the Christian Historian.” Whoa.

More Greeley

Greeley’s got a great piece on his own site called why I am still a Catholic. Neat stuff. Precisely this sort of thing is why I intensely dug Greeley when I happened across his work at a fairly difficult time of my life. I imagined that most Catholics were like Greeley and that maybe I should become a Catholic because of that. It did not quite end up happening, for various reasons.