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Darth InSidious

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Posts posted by Darth InSidious

  1. weepingmotherofgodofthesignatnovgorod.jpg

    Ὑπὸ τὴν σὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν,

    καταφεύγομεν, Θεοτόκε.

    Τὰς ἡμῶν ἱκεσίας,

    μὴ παρίδῃς ἐν περιστάσει,

    ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ κινδύνων λύτρωσαι ἡμᾶς,

    μόνη Ἁγνή, μόνη εὐλογημένη.

  2. Snip

    Bad examples. Notice that his back is still straight

    No, not really. In the image of Bush with the Pope, his back is clearly bent; in the image of Eisenhower with Bl. John XXIII, he is clearly bowing with his back inclined.


    There's also this (rather small) image of Clinton bowing to Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the Hindu leader:




    and he is 'bowing' to respected ALLIES.

    So Japan is an enemy of the US now? Or just held in contempt?

  3. You know obyknven this might be the first thing you ever posted that I agree with at least a little. You never saw any US President before Obama bowing and grovelling before the other leaders of the world.



    So, this must be a picture of Obama and Pope Benedict:



    And presumably, this is Obama bowing his head to Queen Elizabeth:



    I suppose this isn't Eisenhower bowing to Pope John XXIII:



    Or, indeed, Eisenhower bowing to de Gaulle:



    Perhaps it would be more truthful to say that in the past there was less manufactured outrage over the American president showing courtesy to foreign dignitaries.


    And for a difference between Russia and America, how about:




    (N.B.: This is a joke.)

  4. I think the key question about AV is this: How does it affect the hold of parties over the electoral system? If it strenghtens theri grip, it can only be against the public good. If it does nothing about it, then we must admit it is little more than a cosmetic reform, and like Lords reform, is designed as a sop to distract attention away from the increasing power of politicians who are increasingly not our representatives but our rulers. True political reform in the UK needs to have (broadly) two aims: stripping power away from the front bench/party political machine, and ensuring that there is at all times a viable opposition and balance to Parliament. In short, we need to make us them an them us, and ensure that there is never a single point which immediately gains bipartisan support.

  5. Currently reading Newtons Sleep by Daniel O'Mahoney. Stretches the period from the execution of Charles I up until after the "Popish Plot", following around three sets of characters, one of which consists entirely of Aphra Behn. Basic premise is that war on earth is a symptom of war in heaven; heaven to those living in Early Modern England, time, space and meaning to its participants. Closing on halfway through, now; it's p. cool so far, just fairly mammoth, and not helped by being ritten in smaller type rather than having more pages.

  6. This is why government should regulate business and the markets, rather than shouting and screaming about debt and the previous government in the current case, or talking about the importance of strong business waffle as in the previous.

  7. Currently playing STFU 2. Given how much schtick the original got, I'm kinda surprised by how much fun I'm having. Far from perfect, to be sure: the lightsaber crystal system could be more TSL-like, the number of Force Powers on offer is pitiful, and the story is the usual pastiche of the films, but the ability to smash up everything is kinda cool. Pity the combat consists of little more than button-mashing.

  8. Well, he is an old old man. So being resistant to reality is a given. :sorcerer:

    By way of context, Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III is 87, Pope Benedict XVI is 83, Ayatollah Khamenei is 71, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is 86, President of Israel Shimon Perez is 87, Mahmoud Abbas is 75, King Abdullah II of Jordan is 49, President of Lebanon Michael Suleiman is 62, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is 45 (assumed office in 2000), President Jalal Talabani of Iraq is 77, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said

    of Oman is 70, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of the UAE is 63, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen is 68, and President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir is 67.


    So by the standards of Western leaders, yes. By the standards of the rest of the world, not necessarily.

  9. Fair elections, should they ever be conducted, will certainly allow hardline-islamist interests to gain more influence in Egypt than they had previously, but the likelihood of an outright takeover seems quite slim, and islamists with legitimate parliamentary representation tend to be less ornery and violent than islamists being oppressed by a U.S.-backed dictator.

    The last time the Muslim Brotherhood were allowed to run in elections was for the lower house elections in about 2005. They won 88 out of 160 seats. And that was with the NDP and Mubarak's policies toward them in place. A slim likelihood, you say? The Muslim Brotherhood, through social welfare programmes, enjoy massive support amongst the working classes and at present there is no viable third party in Egypt. This is the point: It's an either-or between the status quo and a Muslim Brotherhood-run, Islamised, radicalised, anti-Western, anti-Israeli Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood may be pro-democracy now, but as one commentator put it, that may well be an attitude of "one man, one vote, one time". Because one time is all they may need.


    My core point is that I think the risks of Egypt going hardcore-islamist are distant, easily overwhelmed by the overall benefits of democratic reform.

    Isn't the entire point of the unrest and the frustration of the people, that they are fed up with "Old Men" regimes?


    You can suppress people for only so long and then corruption and nepotism will eventually create popular uprisings. The worst thing that could happen in Egypt right now is probably that Mohamed ElBaradei got into a position of power, because frankly, he seems like an oportunist that just wants Mubaraks job.

    ElBaradei would make a popular martyr for the cause of democracy, so no. Of course, if he survived there would be a bigger problem. An opportunist? Undoubtedly. But who in all this isn't?


    I'm no friend of the Muslim Brotherhood, but they're not Taliban-level violent and insular. (They've renounced violence as a political tool, and have been a prominent enemy of Al Qaeda for decades.)


    Edit: added the quote, just to make sure that Gorth's post and the page-break don't confuse matters.

    We have no idea what the MB will do in power. Words are all fine and dandy, but it is still an Islamist group which has a proven track record for violence, and its avowed aims have not changed. See WoD's point about their intentions.


    For the record, I don't for a moment believe the Brotherhood are behind this protest, nor do I begrudge the Egyptian people their grievances with Mubarak. But the fact is that had Mubarak stepped down, he would have handed the country to the Brotherhood. And that, despite commentary to the contrary, would have benefited only one group of people.

  10. Isn't that the crazy conspiracy theory stuff?


    Basically. Unless they've totally overhauled the 'documentary' then, yes, it's a few facts, often exaggerated, that were mixed with a lot of fiction, conjecture, and editing - something that resulted in nothing more and nothing less than a perfect example of how conspiracy theories become popular and 'respectable.'



    This. It's whole intellectual underpinning - if one can credit such a specious mountain of manipulative trash with such a thing - is a farrago of eighth-rate pseudointellectual nonsense, starting with archaeology on the level of books with titles like Jesus, Last of the Pharaohs* before moving on to cheap economic conspiracy theories.


    Isn't that the crazy conspiracy theory stuff?


    Basically. Unless they've totally overhauled the 'documentary' then, yes, it's a few facts, often exaggerated, that were mixed with a lot of fiction, conjecture, and editing - something that resulted in nothing more and nothing less than a perfect example of how conspiracy theories become popular and 'respectable.'




    Yeah, but only the first doc, but it's only the points about 9/11

    Uh, no. The entire first part of the documentary - and I mean practically every single word - is bunkum. I'm going to focus on the first part in particular, because it treads on my patch academically and therefore sets off my bull**** detectors like nothing else.


    In fact, the only part of the Zeitgeist movement I would give any credit to is the idea that there is a conspiracy. There is indeed a conspiracy - a conspiracy of out-and-out cynics like "Dorothy Murdock"/Acharya S** and others of their ilk to write specious, pseudo-archaeological nonsense which is designed to prey on your ignorance to deceive you. And, of course, make some cash.


    I used to have a list of several sites with debunkings of Zeitgeist on 'em, but I seem to have lost it. This one comes up fairly high, though, and seems pretty academically OK:



    There's also this one and Prof John Stackhouse's refutation, both of which look to be p. kosher.


    Zeitgeist, to be brief, does indeed belong to the wacko conspiracy bull**** end of the spectrum. If it's author is now trying to sell it as a way of life, I can only see it as a switch of tack by an out-and-out cynic, desperately seeking either fame or fortune. Peter Joseph is a con-man. That he preys on the ignorance of others rather than their stupidity does not make him any less reprehensible.


    *Yes, such a book does indeed exist. Yes, it's a load of bull**** less credible than a flat earth. Yes, lots of people buy into this ****, anyway. Go wiki-search the Priory of Sion while you're about it.


    **Don't bother looking her up. Her site when I checked it out consisted of a load of adverts for her BS books, and an article consisting of 15 or so pages of ranting about how mainstream academe had ignored her (gee, wonder why...) and repeated use of the same highly selective quote from Justin Martyr. Here's a good little page on her gibberings: http://www.tektonics.org/af/achy01.html . An example, in the form of a quote that website gives from Acharya S' book, attempting to conflate Mark the evangelist with the early Christian thinker Marcion:

    "...legend held that Mark wrote his gospel in Rome and brought it to Alexandria, where he established churches, while Marcion purportedly published his gospel in Rome and no doubt went to Alexandria at some point."
  11. If Mubarak were to fall, the big question is would it open the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to take over.

    It isn't a question at all. The kefaya movement, so far as I can make out, is a reaction without any political point, and there's no obvious successor to Mubarak. The Brotherhood have an open goal, and all they have to do is make moderate noises and wait.


    If Mubarak were to fall, the big question is would it open the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to take over.


    It'd be a big risk, certainly. I think it would come down to whether any personalities exist to unite the huge section of the population who would panic at the thought of the MB taking over. If Egypt did go MB then I'd start investing in companies which make khaki and bullets.


    Pope Shenouda has spent the last thirty years or so trying to shore up relations between the Copts and the Muslim majority. My guess is he'd try and do a deal with the MB. The only other source of authority which springs to mind immediately is the Al-Azhar mosque. The last Grand Imam frittered much of his authority away, though, trying to legalise abortion and ban the niqab, and so forth, so his successor is unlikely to start making noises which seem like a lack of solidarity. I don't really see any other figures likely to excite large scale support, myself.


    The choice is between the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood. And the NDP is Mubarak's party. The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, have been outlawed for years and have therefore always stood as independents. Also, anyone banking on Egypt being relatively stable should remember what happened to Sadat. Yes, Egypt has been relatively stable, but she's paid a high price for that stability.

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