Thursday, January 19, 2006

Osama the Tool

Once upon a time, Osama bin Laden was a tool of the CIA dirty tricks department, funded (secretly) by the US government and by the Saudi royal family.

The CIA paid him to go to Afghanistan and fight the Soviet invaders. The plan was to turn Afghanistan into Russia's equivalent of Vietnam: a war they could not win and which would drain their treasury and self-esteem. And it worked. Supposedly, Osama is no longer a paid tool of the CIA. Quite why the Saudi royal family contributed to Osama when he was fighting the Soviets (and continue to fund him to this day) has never been satisfactorily explained by the pundits.

The legitimacy of the House of Saud's claim to the kingdom relies entirely upon the backing of the Wahabi sect of Islam (the founder of that sect and the first King Saud relied upon each other to give each other legitimacy). The only problem is that the House of Saud is composed of apostate playboys who pretend to be faithful Muslims in public and as infidels in private, and the Wahabi sect know it. So there is a popular movement amongst the Wahabis to overthrow the House of Saud and replace it with somebody more to their liking. The pundits claim that the House of Saud funds Osama (by donations to charities they know damned well are a front for Osama) so that he'll go off and kill other people instead of them. I have never bought that theory. If Osama is a devout Wahabi then he should view those bribes as a big insult and be even more determined to overthrow the House of Saud. Instead this religious fundamentalist accepts the bribe (we're talking Islamic fundamentalist, not the corrupt Falwells and Robertsons of Christian fundamentalist).

Could it be that Osama, just like the rest of his extended family (the second-most wealthy and powerful family in Saudi Arabia), actually be supporting the House of Saud? By going off to fight the Russians in Afghanistan he attracted all the hothead Wahabi Saudis who would otherwise have been thinking about how to overthrow the House of Saud. Osama's actions have actually reduced the risks faced by the House of Saud.

Bush-the-slightly-smarter fooled Saddam into war with Kuwait and lied about Iraqi troops massing on the Saudi border. As a result of which, US forces were stationed in Saudi Arabia (ostensibly to defend it from Iraq, but quite possibly to defend the House of Saud from rebellion). Osama said and did little about that at the time. Nothing major, just enough to convince his recruits that he wasn't ignoring it.

Bush-the-fuckwit came along, having been sold upon Cheney's vision of invading Iraq to steal its oil. The problem was that they needed an excuse. Conveniently for them, up popped Osama with 9-11 to give them that excuse. Was Osama still a CIA tool?

Osama also demanded that Bush pull US forces out of Saudi Arabia and "Dead or Alive" Bush meekly accepted Osama's bidding without a complaint. Could it be that the presence of US troops was making the real Wahabis unhappy and so it was expedient to get them out? That might have happened anyway if a large troop force in Iraq is sufficient to allow some to go into Saudi Arabia at a moment's notice to protect the royal family. But revolutionary coups can happen very quickly. So it is more likely a compromise worked out between the Sauds and the US: move the troops out of Saudi Arabia so the Wahabis calm down, but keep them close enough that the Wahabis would be worried about retaliation. A compromise that is probably the best the US and the Sauds could hope for, and one which Osama just happened to demand.

Every so often, when Bush's popularity was flagging, up popped an Osama video or audio tape, or an Osama press statement. How convenient.

And now it is obvious that Cheney's dream of invading Iraq to steal its oil has gone horribly wrong, now even the mainstream media are demanding the US pulls out of Iraq, Bush is desperately looking for some way of stopping his popularity ratings plummeting. Guess what? Osama just popped up again and offered a permanent truce with honour if the US pulls its troops out.

2 + 2 = 9-11.

The Essence of Religion

What is the essence of religions

You might consider the answer to be "God" (or "a unique, all-powerful God with no equals or superiors," if you were feeling pedantic and were describing a monotheistic religion).

You might consider the answer to be "faith," where faith is defined as the belief in something despite lack of evidence or even in the face of evidence to the contrary.


Some might dispute that definition of faith, although it is essentially how faith was defined by the fathers of the early Christian church.

You do not need faith to believe in observable facts. For instance, you believe that you are reading this post on a computer monitor; you do not need faith in order to believe that.

Nor do you need faith to believe something that you have previously observed and have reason to believe still exists. When I last visited the toilet I observed that the bowl was undamaged (and needed cleaning); in the absence of the sounds of an explosion coming from the direction of the toilet I have every reason to believe that the bowl is still undamaged (and in the absense of the sounds of anyone else in my home I have every reason to believe it still needs cleaning).

You need faith to believe in something for which there is no evidence. Like God, angels, the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, etc.

Even more so, you need faith to believe in something which is contradicted by the evidence. It is said by religious people that God sometimes answers prayers. They cite as evidence the fact that people with cancer undergo remissions after they have prayed (but usually make no mention of the fact that the person was also undergoing medical treatment for the cancer). They cite even more enthusiastically cancers which go into spontaneous remission (with no medical treatment) after prayer, however it was known hundreds of years ago that some cancers go into remission if a person suffers an infectious disease (this is a promising form of treatment that became neglected once pharmaceutical companies grew large enough to suppress it). However, no matter how hard and how often they pray, God has never healed any amputees. You therefore need faith to believe that God heals people who pray, and faith to ignore the fact that God apparently hates amputees.

To put it bluntly, faith is believing the unbelievable. And religious people do this because they have been brainwashed into believing that they must believe in God and Heaven or else they will face eternal punishment in Hell (which they are also brainwashed into believing). And what is such brainwashing also known as? Thought control.

And there you have it. The very essence of religion is thought control. Without years of brainwashing as impressionable children, most adults would no more believe in God and Heaven than they would in Santa Claus. Yet, as children, they saw actual evidence for the existence of Santa. The reason they no longer believe in Santa is that past a certain age their parents revealed the truth and stopped brainwashing them. Religions never stop brainwashing their faithful because they cannot afford to lose people from their congregation nor to lose pennies from the collecting plate. Without constant reinforcement, people would start to wonder if what they've been brainwashed into believing is a crock of shit.

Once you realize that the essence of religion is thought control, you understand that religions don't have to have a God. In fact there are at least three main categories of religion, which differ in when the bulk of their rewards are supposed to appear:

  • God-based religions. Although you may get immediate rewards (like being healed if you pray, except it's nothing more than coincidence), the real reward comes after you die. Since nobody ever comes back from years of being dead to say how good Heaven is (or how bad Hell is) the faithful believe in the scam. You do the church's bidding, and contribute to its coffers, in order that you will go to Heaven. You'll never know it's a scam because you'd have to be dead to benefit and once you're dead you cease to exist.

  • Tyrannies such as Communism. The rewards here may come in your lifetime (if the next 5-year-plan goes as promised) but if not then you are engaged in a heroic struggle so that your children will benefit. You do the regime's bidding in order that your children will, perhaps not in your lifetime, benefit. Again, you'll be dead before you learn that it's a scam and that your children will be no better off (and possibly worse off) than you were.

  • Psychiatry. The reward is meant to appear in your own lifetime. But psychotherapy is never-ending (at least if you're rich and paying for it). The illusion of reward is always there, you just have to work a bit harder at it. Of course, for the recalcitrant cases there is electro-shock treatment, mind-numbing pharmaceuticals and lobotomy to reduce them to drooling idiots capable only of uttering the divine mantra of psychotherapy: "Me happy. Psychiatrists good!"

Thought control, necessary to make you believe the unbelievable. Rational people of the world unite and throw down your bibles and communist manifestos: you have nothing to lose but your gullibility.

Oh, and cancel your psychiatrist appointment too: a statistical study showed that the same percentage of people recovered from mental health problems whether they had psychiatric treatment or not. One possibility is that all those who recovered with psychiatric treatment would also have recovered without it, therefore psychiatric treatment is unnecessary except for the financial benefit of psychiatrists. The other possibility is the psychiatry managed to help some of those who would not have recovered without treatment but also damaged an equal percentage who would have recovered without psychiatric treatment. Either way, psychotherapy is yet another religion the world is better off without.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Pat Robertson Fucks Up Again

Well, well, well. Talebangelical Pat Robertson has been forced to eat crow yet again. Any sane person would have learned by now not to make moronic remarks, but Robertson is far from rationality. Look at just a few of his past idiocies:

  • After 9-11, Robertson and Falwell immediately stated that God had allowed it to happen because of all the adultery, homosexuality and all the other behaviours inimical to the Talebangelical creed that were taking place in the US.

    After national outrage, Robertson and Falwell were forced to retract those comments and apologize.

  • Robertson called for Hugo Chavez to be assassinated by the US.

    After national outrage, Robertson lied by claiming he had been misquoted and had said no such thing.

    After recordings of Robertson calling for Chavez to be assassinated had been widely disseminated, Robertson made some feeble excuse about his earlier lie and apologized.

  • After a newly-elected Dover School Board overturned its predecessor's intention to teach "Intelligent Design," Robertson said that Dover could no longer rely upon God's favour and deserved every misfortune that befell it because Dover had "rejected God."

    It was then pointed out (though not as widely as it should have been) that "Intelligent Design" was a very shoddy attempt at rebadging "Creationism" in an attempt to sneak religion into the classroom and that the very last thing its adherents wanted was for the courts to get the idea that it really was Creationism under a new name. Robertson's comment that Dover had rejected God made it quite clear that Robertson believes "Intelligent Design" is a way of sneaking God into the classroom.

    Own goal, Robertson...

Robertson's latest own-goal is as moronic as ever (perhaps more so than usual). Like all the Talebangelicals, Robertson is looking forward to the end-times coming. Like all the Talebangelicals, Robertson believes that the end-times cannot come until all the Jews of the world have relocated to Israel. Like all the Talebangelicals, Robertson is a strong supporter of Israel and is 100% behind Israel torturing and killing Palestinians, and illegally annexing their land, in order to drive the Palestinians out of Israel so that the "master race" are the only inhabitants (the historical allusion I used is deliberate, because the parallels are so strong).

So when Sharon decided to pull some settlers out of some parts of Palestinian lands that Israel has illegally occupied, Robertson went apeshit. It didn't matter to Robertson that Sharon was giving up some annexed land as a tactic to gain control of Jerusalem (which is far more eschatologically important). So when Sharon suffered a stroke, Robertson naturally claimed it was the work of God because God wants Israel to be occupied by Jews and nobody else:

God considers this land to be his, You read the Bible and he says 'This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No, this is mine.'

That's unambiguous: according to Robertson, parts of Israel must not be carved off and given to non-Jews. The only problem is that Robertson was part of a group who wanted to build a "Christian Heritage Complex" (no doubt one that celebrates Christ's love of golf by incorporating an 18-hole course) in Israel. Which would require carving up part of Israel and letting the Talebangelicals use it. Of course, the Christian Heritage Complex would pay rent, so they weren't exactly being given it, so Robertson wasn't being entirely hypocritical.

Israel, of course, reacted predictably to Robertson and told him to fuck off. Robertson, of course, reacted predictably by once again apologizing for being a complete dickhead.

Now here's what puzzles me. Robertson (like Dubya) claims that God speaks to him all the time and tells him what to do and what to say. And yet Robertson (like Dubya) repeatedly fucks up. How can this be? I can think of several possible explanations (which Robertson would dispute and say were completely wrong):

  1. Robertson does not believe in the Bible and God does not speak to Robertson. Robertson is a con-man preying on the poor and disadvantaged by telling them that only if they save money by going hungry and wearing patched clothes and send that money to Robertson will they go to Heaven. Robertson then spends the money on mansions, cars, private aircraft, and the very best food.

  2. Robertson believes the crap he spouts but either there is no God or God chooses not to speak with a buffoon like Robertson. The voice Robertson hears in his head is not God but a hallucination.

  3. Robertson believes the crap he spouts but whenever he talks to God he's dialling the wrong number. Instead of God giving Robertson advice, it's Satan.

However, there is also an explanation that accepts that Robertson sincerely believes the crap he spouts, and that he is talking with God rather than Satan, yet still he gets bad advice. The explanation is that God thinks Robertson desperately needs to gain some humility. God is deliberately feeding Robertson advice that will make Robertson look dumber than a box of rocks lying in a pile of shit in the hope that one day Robertson will gain a little humility.

If teaching Robertson a lesson in humility is why God is putting such nonsense into Robertson's mouth, it doesn't seem to be working. Perhaps that is also why God appears to have cursed Robertson with constipation. Certainly, if Robertson were constipated it would explain why he is so full of shit.

Maybe God has gone a step further than simple constipation and cursed Robertson with hæmorrhoids (which make constipation even worse and far more painful). It sure looks that way. And it make sense too, because the last people God cursed with hæmorrhoids were the Philistines (now called Palestinians) for stealing the Ark of the Covenant. And just as God (in Robertson's insane opinion) punished Sharon for giving Israeli land to the Palestinians, it is only fair that God punish Robertson - in the same way that he did the Philistines (as the Palestinians used to be known) - by giving him constipation and hæmorrhoids.

BTW, it is well worth reading this account of just how God punished the Philistines. The Biblical account in Samuel I is a little difficult to follow (especially as the Babble Bible chose to Bowdlerize matters by referring to hæmorrhoids as "emerods"), whereas the retelling I have linked to explains things in a more comprehensible (and hilarious) fashion. Read how God kills the Philistines and then smites them with hæmorrhoids (gives an entirely new meaning to "grapes of wrath"). Read how the dead Philistines decide to return the Ark along with five golden statues of mice and five golden statues of their hæmorrhoids in the hope that God will stop punishing them (no, I'm not making this up, it's in the Babble Bible).

Robertson and the Talebangelicals are far more interested in Old Testament rules and punishments than New Testament rules, even though as (nominal) Christians the New Testament should take precedence and the Old Testament should be examined merely for historical interest in the old requirements that were superceded once Jesus got nailed to a cross. So it's only fitting that Robertson be cursed with constipation and emerods. And, since Robertson has conned so much money out of the gullible, he'll certainly be able to buy enough gold to make many statues of mice and hæmorrhoids with which to buy off God's wrath.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More Microsoft Security Holes

There once was a time, all of five years ago, when I thought Microsoft was the biggest threat to this planet. Then Dubya stole an election. Even so, Microsoft is working hard to compete for the top spot.

I've long known that Microsoft products were a steaming pile of shit full of security holes. I've long known that Microsoft products have more holes than swiss cheese. I've long known that Microsoft has never come up with an original idea other than in marketing and steals technology if it can and buys technology if it must. Most Microsoft "enhancements" to Internet Standards are deliberate attempts to lock out competing operating systems and products. I've frequently seen Microsoft deliberately modify its products and operating systems to lock out competitors.

I admit to being truly scared by Microsoft on-line updates. They can be used to apply security patches (although those patches frequently do not fix everything they should because if they did it would break Microsoft's "enhancements" to Internet Standards and stop their own browser from being able to look at "enhanced" web pages served up by their own web server). But those updates can be used to do so much more. Like upgrading Microsoft Tord (pronounced to rhyme with "word," which is how Microsoft spell the name of the product) so that it can no longer read its older file formats (which competitors had reverse-engineered so that people using Linux could create documents readable by Tord, until the "update"). Like updating Windows and Windows Media Player to lock out Real Player (by re-jigging a system call Real Player relied on). Like scouring your hard drive to find out which Microsoft products you may have installed illegally (and there's nothing to stop them getting all your private data if they wish).

For a more comprehensive exposition of Microsoft's flaws, take a look here. You can find more nuggets of Microsoft's fool's gold (dog turds wrapped in gold-coloured aluminium foil and sold as 24 karat gold) here (see the links under the "Microsoft" heading).

Anyway, Microsoft have done it yet again. Another security hole. One which has apparently been waiting to be found since Windows98. This article states that Microsoft has released a temporary patch which is not completely effective. Microsoft themselves say that the problem affects Windows XP (SP1 and SP2) and Windows 2003 server; that various anti-virus products give complete protection; that Windows OneCare Users who see a "green" status are completely safe. Microsoft lies.

See this page (it is linked to from the "World+dog scrambles to fight Windows flaw" page I linked to above) for more truthful details. Read between the lines and you'll see that the loophole also exists on W2K and Windows/ME and probably also exists on Windows98 but that so far exploits have only been seen in the wild for XP and 2003 server. That page also makes clear that there are many ways to get infected, not just from rogue web sites (as Microsoft claims). It also has a link to an unofficial patch that does fix the problem. Oh, and just to hammer the point home, the same source recently released this stating that this bug is now being exploited by a worm spread by MSN Messenger (oh, the irony).

To summarize:

  • There's a fucking big security hole in Windows that will let people rape your computer.

  • The Microsoft temporary patch does not completely fix the problem.

  • Microsoft lies about the severity of the issue.

  • The Microsoft official patch, due on the 10th, may fix the issue if, and only if, it doesn't mean some of their "enhanced" web pages will break. I'm serious here. There was a previous security hole about a year ago that Microsoft refused to fix completely because it would break some of the proprietary web technology they use to try to lock out competing web browsers and web servers.

  • Microsoft products are a pile of steaming shit.

  • Microsoft are cunts.

In the meantime, I am thankful that I use Linux. Far fewer security holes. More efficient so it runs faster. More reliable (never crashes). Has features (such as disk journalling) that Microsoft charge extra for. Oh, and it's free. Yes, free. You can pay for it if you want all the manuals and a good deal of hand-holding, or you can download the ISOs of one of the many competing Linux distributions, burn them to CD, and install it for free.

Monday, January 02, 2006

de Ford's Law of Abusable Legislation

What do I mean by "abusable legislation?"

First of all, I use the term "legislation" in its broadest sense. It may be actual legislation initiated and passed by Congress. It may be actual legislation requested by the President and passed by Congress. It may be an executive order from the President. It is something which has an effect upon the way in which government is carried out and/or the way government and/or the legal system interacts with the people.

By "abusable" legislation, I mean legislation that may be used in ways for which it was not believed to be intended. That is to say, the purpose of the legislation was sold to Congress and/or the public as accomplishing legitimate objective A and no other objective but can, in fact, also be used for illegitimate objective B. Objective B is often slightly related to objective A; more often objective B is simply objective A carried to unfair and unjust extremes. If you're lucky, you may have a Constitution and a Supreme court that will rule objective B unconstitutional, but you probably won't be that lucky.

As an example of abusable legislation, take the misnamed USA PATRIOT Act. It was sold to Congress (who were not given time to read its many hundreds of pages) as solely for the purposes of defeating terrorism. Congress was assured that, despite many of the provisions being open to abuse by being used to pursue domestic criminal offences, they would not be so used. Of course, they were so used, and very shortly after the act was passed. In fact, almost all the prosecutions under the act have been for domestic criminal offences of the type which Congress and the public were promised would not happen.

So here is my Law (and five corollaries) of Abusable Legislation:

If a piece of legislation is passed which can be abused then, sooner or later, it WILL be abused.


  1. Abusable legislation is almost always abused whilst those who initiated and drafted it are still in power.

  2. Abusable legislation is almost always abused by those who initiated and drafted it.

  3. The real purpose of those who initiate and draft abusable legislation is almost always so that they can abuse it, with the purported objective being a ruse to get it passed.

  4. Abusable legislation is almost always passed in response to "temporary" emergencies such as war, rebellion, acts of terrorism, or natural disaster.

  5. If abusable legislation is passed in response to a "temporary" emergency, either the emergency never ends or, if the emergency does end, the "temporary" abusable legislation is never repealed.

World history is replete with examples. President Bush seems to be going for the world record, topping all previous empires, kingdoms and republics in history combined.

It goes without saying that the ultimate objective of passing abusable legislation is to create a despotic dictatorship.

And finally, some Bush quotes...

You don't get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier.

If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.

A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it.