Saturday, April 19, 2014

God: the Good Cartoon Character

Tomorrow, Christians celebrate Easter. It is a celebration that is supposed to represent birth, biblical 'I-told-you-so', and re-birth. Christians have stolen this supreme representation of divine traits from prior religions and civilizations in order to preserve the 'continuity' of thought across history and gain credibility.

Theologians have created the Christian Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as a sort of philosophical sandwich that can cover all bases and present defenses against any and all potential intellectual threats. It functions as an armor, the theologians must have thought. But the charade has been revealed. The gig is up. Other planets may have life just like our Earth. We are getting better and better at managing our lives using our brain power.

We cannot disagree, no matter how religious we might be, that God is a sort of a universal spiritual cartoon character that battles 'evil' (Satan) and we, as spectators, have to choose a side. No rational person can choose to support the evil side in a battle, and for this very reason, God appeals to our natural inclinations, to be on the side and defend the 'good'. Our ally (hero) is good, others' maybe not so much.

From a believer's perspective, God can do no harm. He is the main action star of a universal comic book. No matter what happens, God intended for the outcome -whatever that may be- to happen. Even if it means that thousands die, or some individuals may get sick, God wanted it that way. For reasons that are not clear at all. The justification for evil done in his name is handy, as God is always good. Get over it. Grow up.

It is ironic and absurd to entertain this train of thought as we transform into beings without morality and without free will. Why would we want that? It is time to ditch supporting the good cartoon character. Support science and support knowing. Believing is very easy, if you close your eyes. Open your eyes and stare at reality and the desire to know becomes the true focus. Believe in what you may, but when you know something it can alter your beliefs. Religious beliefs are very weak when facing reason.

Move on people, grow up, and admit that nobody can ever 'save' us. We are who we are as that is how we are and not because somebody decided how we should be.

Beliefs are feelings and science is knowing. Knowledge trumps feelings any day, and any place. I would rather know than feel. I would rather know how to cure cancer than feel (believe) there is a cure. I would rather know I can do something to save my peers, if I need to.

Scientific and financial education is key to our knowledge and certainty. Religion is like social ballast. It is a drain on how we think and it is a waste of brain resources.

Let's know more and more, people and let's believe less in things that cannot be proven.

Let feelings of joy and fulfillment feel our souls because we know how to save people from earthquakes, natural disaster, and diseases. Amen!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Let's Send the Russian Bear Back to Siberia, Where It Belongs

Thuggery is defined by doing what one wishes without any repercussions. Russian frustrations of becoming less globally important after the collapse of the Soviet Union have materialized by the Russian forces taking over Crimea. Pure and simple. If Russia wants it, Russia gets it.

Russian forces have occupied Crimea and then organized a highly biased referendum for either increasing Crimean autonomy from Ukraine or for accepting that Crimea become a Russian territory. This happened without much debate and time for the Crimean residents to understand the meaning of this Russian takeover of Crimea.

How is this a free choice, Russia? You have your army on the ground and then pretend that you intervened to 'defend' the Russian minority in Crimea from the oppressive Ukrainian authorities. Nobody ever heard of any such abuses. Ever.

I hate Russia and I equally hate the fact the West will not be able to cope with Russian aggression in an effective fashion. Russia is an energy power house and Europe depends on Russian energy far more than any other region. Without the participation of the European nations in the economic sanctions against Russia these will not work.

Russia can do more economic harm to Europe than the reverse by refusing to sell its energy to Europe. This is true at least in the short term. Russia has started an action countdown clock and I hope that Europe will massively divest from the Russian economy since what Russia has done to Ukraine can be repeated, without much warning, with almost any other country of the former Soviet Union. It is only a matter of time, and Europe needs to be ready to pounce and hit the Russian bear on the snout to send it back to Siberia, where it belongs.


 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Sochi Olympics Ended Triumphantly and NBC Coverrage Lost All Credibility

I am elated that the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games ended with no sign of terrorism, collapse, or any type of disaster, as many American/British media were predicting before the Games began.

The games were spectacular, but not because I could watch them on NBC....

I actually watched the games live, without interruption, and with no NBC interference. I accessed the games online, using VPN software to access European TV stations. Superb. Events without comments and I could really enjoy listening to the sounds of the athletes and the games without commercials and American bull droppings.

The only really bad thing about people who could not access European channels is that NBC has a TV monopoly on broadcasting Olympic games in the US.

Complete and utter failure. NBC is absolutely pathetic. USA-centric and incomplete coverage, inability to show how the US is part of a global family. Totally disappointing and infuriating. NBC sucks!



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Grifone Sangiovese

Last week I ran into a very affordable Sangiovese at Trader Joe's. I purchased a whole case as it was only$3.99/bottle.

I had never had this Grifone wine before last week and I was very skeptical. I thought we were going to end up using the wine for cooking.

As it turned out, the wine is medium bodied and crisp. It has a clarity of taste that makes it very easy to drink with ravioli or heavier pasta dishes. It is not rich or heavy but it is pleasant and uplifting.

Drink up! At less than $4 a bottle, the Grifone Sangiovese is superb as daily table wine. Unpretentious, simple, and direct. I find it to be a perfect companion to most kinds of sheep cheese.  


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nuland Comment Aside, for Ukraine, the USA and EU Offer a Better Alternative than Russia

Victoria Nuland made a questionable comment towards the European Union and this has enraged quite a few observers, including me.

However, for both Ukraine and Europe alike, US offers a much better option than Russia. One needs not look too far to notice that almost every place where the US economic psyche is/was present the people in those places are better off than any alternatives. They are better off compared to both before when the US presence began and by looking at countries where the US economic spirit could not be instilled.

South Korea, Japan, Western Europe, and even China are much better off after being and growing under the American mentality than before that.

Eastern Europe, Cuba, and North Korea are examples of places where the American economic model could not be implemented because of Soviet tanks and pressure. All these places were much worse off than the alternative. The alternative is 100% American. No ifs, buts, or debates.

Even now if you go to almost any Eastern Europe country, from Poland to Romania, the vast majority of people will tell you that Russia is evil, pure and unadulterated evil. They are like a bad moonshine that, when consumed, it destroys everybody's health. Slowly but unequivocally.

Russia cannot win as they have no moral backbone. They claim that they liberated Eastern Europe from the Nazis but they forget to mention that the price of that act was pure slavery for the people of Eastern Europe for almost 50 years.

They did not free Eastern European countries to make those countries better off than before. No! They did it so that it could run despicable experiments on them. They did it so that Russia could develop and totally control a shield against the West. Miserable bastards! Disgusting pigs!

Individual freedoms (speech, association, religion, etc.), freedom of the press, economic determinism, individual choice, creativity, market value, market forces, wide-spread development, growth, accountability, independence of the judiciary, value of education are all concepts that make the American psyche much more valuable, when applied as a package, to any other country on the planet.

Russia has very few of these memes and, because of that, it cannot win long term battles. However, it can win localized battles (such as in Ukraine). But, at some point, those battles will have to be redone and I have little doubt that the US psyche will win over. No doubt whatsoever.

I am not even sure that Russia will win the battle over Ukraine.

The EU and its mentality can win in Ukraine and the US will have to back the EU, even if the US thinks that the EU is not very strong. At the end of the day, the US is much closer to the EU than the EU would like to openly acknowledge.

Nuland's 'f...k EU' remark was actually a very friendly remark, when we take a much broader perspective.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

How Victoria Nuland Became Victoria Fuckland

It is almost certain that the Russian Federation released the 'Fuck the EU' recording of Victoria Nuland.

Russian Federation released the Fuckland recording to the public as quickly as they could. Even though the US may classify this fact as 'dirty', it is, without many doubts, unmistakable that the US government's credibility has fallen to new lows, lows not seen since the Vietnam war.

Here are the main arguments supporting my statements.

1. NSA spying revelations which show that the US pays only lip service to the concept of 'individual privacy' (a constitutional sanctioned right);

2. Relative number of people incarcerated in the US prisons shows that the US judicial system has been taken over by private interests as more and more prisons are operated by private corprations;

3. The Guantanamo prison is still operational after more than 10 years since it was opened by the Bush administration which shows that the US can bend the laws just like David Beckham could bend the soccer ball while pretending that human rights are the most important driver in the conduct of US foreign policy;

4. The FED's quantitative easing (printing money at will, with no direct authority from the Congress) by buying US debt at an incredible rate which -directly or indirectly- makes the US dollar the most quantitatively important currency in the world;

5. Wealth distribution and inequality. The US has the highest GINI coefficient of all developed nations.

I love the US and what it stands for, but when Victoria Nuland makes point-blank statements to the Ukrainian US ambassador that we should 'Fuck the EU' then I feel like the US has lost all its ability to influence global policy makers, as who is to say that some European policymakers do not shout 'Fuck the US' (behind closed doors)?

The radicalization of US diplomacy will become more and more obvious and other countries will start to push back with more and more strength.

The singularity and strength of the US diplomacy has started to become more and more militaristic and this will only embolden Russia and China and make them, even more determined than now, to pursue their agenda via military spending expansion rather than 'values agendas'.

The US used to stand for human rights and that does not fly anymore. The US used to stand for economic freedom and that does not fly anymore, given the complexity of tax code(s) in the US. The US used to stand for relative equality between all Americans and that does not fly anymore in the face of wealth inequality we are witnessing. The US used to stand for top notch infrastructure and that is starting to fall by the wayside.

What do really we want the US to stand for?





Friday, February 7, 2014

The US Warns Americans that They Should Expect No Privacy in Sochi. WTF?

Are you f..ing kidding me? The US is warning Americans traveling to the Olympic games in Sochi that they should 'expect no privacy' while in Russia and accessing Russian networks. What? Am I reading this correctly?

Have we not just learned that the US spies on everybody indiscriminately, regardless of whether they are in the US or not, regardless of whether they are Americans or not, and regardless of reason. We cannot tolerate this duplicity of our government and we must demand that the US stop spying on all of us before we can go around the world and tell others that they should not be spying on our citizens.

Also, today I just learned that a high ranking US department official -assistant US secretary of state, Victoria Nuland- has made a highly offensive remark towards the EU and the statement was recorded, apparently, by the Russian intelligence services.

Kudos to the Russians not just for recording the conversation in high definition but also for posting it on YouTube. I just love the timeliness of this release and the fact that it shows how hypocritical the US government has become with its international actions.