Because Obama opposes them, Limbaugh endorses terrorists and murderers

October 18, 2011

There may be no better demonstration of how the blind, unthinking and unfounded hatred of Barack Obama has skewed the rationality of conservatives than Rush Limbaugh’s endorsement of the war criminals, murdering “Lord’s Resistance Army”  (LRA) in Central Africa.

Watch this short excerpt from a PBS documentary, “The Lord’s Children”:

Original PBS airdate: Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The region of Northern Uganda was ravaged by one of Africa’s longest civil wars until 2006. For over 20 years, more than 65,000 children, some as young as five years old, have been kidnapped by Uganda’s anti-government rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and forced to serve as child soldiers and sex slaves.

Under the command of LRA leader Joseph Kony, these children have been terrorized into committing the worst atrocities, even killing their own families. Lord’s Children follows three former LRA soldiers who escaped from the bush and have since taken refuge in a rehabilitation center. WIDE ANGLE is with the center’s counselors as they help the physically and emotionally scarred children put their lives back together.

For more information, visit http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/lords-children/introduction/1769/

Oh, one may have second and third thoughts about President Obama’s dispatching of “advisers” to help Uganda’s government fight the LRA.  Anyone who remembers Vietnam would think twice about such a deployment, though Rush appears not to remember Vietnam at all (!), and ignores the dramatic success of Obama’s policies toward Libya over the past year.

Worse, Limbaugh appears to believe the LRA is a simple group of Christians fighting for freedom.

So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and — (interruption) no, I’m not kidding.

You should read Matt Yglesias’s comments on Limbaugh’s despicable claims:

Victim of Lord's Resistance Army - image from Human Rights Watch via Matt Yglesias

(Image of a victim of a machete attack by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) - Human Rights Watch via Matt Yglesias))

I don’t have a really strong view on whether or not it’s advisable to dispatch a small number of US combat troops to help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army. My instinct is to be skeptical. I want to see less military intervention, not more. But Rush Limbaugh’s instinct is to embrace brutal murderers:

Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill. […]

Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.” Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.

This post is illustrated with a photo of a man who survived a Lord’s Resistance Army machete attack and has the gashes on his head to prove it. You can read more about it courtesy of Human Rights Watch:

LRA forces attacked at least 10 villages, capturing, killing, and abducting hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes.

The LRA also killed those they abducted who walked too slowly or tried to escape. Family members and local authorities later found bodies all along the LRA’s 105-kilometer journey through the Makombo area and the small town of Tapili. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that for days and weeks after the attack, this vast area was filled with the “stench of death.”

I think reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not chasing a relatively small band of depraved mass murderers around central africa is a reasonable thing for American military personel to be doing. But let’s make no mistake—these are depraved mass murderers. And yet Rush Limbaugh is pleased to welcome them as fellow Christian allies.

Oy.

If Limbaugh has a human brain cell and human heart cell left, surely he will retract this bizarre endorsement of terrorists.

You don’t know about the LRA?  I suppose it’s possible people have slept through the past two decades or forgotten the news reports.  The group has been terrorizing Sudan and Uganda since 1987.  The facts from Wikipedia:

“The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on 8 July and 27 September 2005 against Joseph Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen. The five LRA leaders were charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, sexual slavery, and enlisting of children as combatants. The warrants were filed under seal; public redacted versions were released on 13 October 2005.”

  • You may wish to start with the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Uganda Recovery Act of 2010:
    The Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was a 2010 act of Congress promoted by the Obama administration that makes it American policy to kill or capture Joseph Kony and to crush his rebellion once and for all. According to the President, “The legislation crystallizes the commitment of the United States to help bring an end to the brutality and destruction that have been a hallmark of the LRA across several countries for two decades, and to pursue a future of greater security and hope for the people of central Africa.”[1][2]

Limbaugh’s actions are really beyond the pale. Clearly he is undergoing some kind of mental disturbance.  Is there any organization over him to see he gets the treatment he needs,  and get him off the air before he does more damage?  Responsible radio stations should pull his program until there is a retraction and some sort of indication that the man is not himself a threat to the country — assuming he thought he knew what he was doing.

Call your local Limbaugh outlet, ask if they endorse terrorism, too.  If they don’t endorse terrorism, ask what they intend to say and do about Limbaugh.


Whatever happened to reconsidering Columbus Day?

October 11, 2011

It was a great video, out last year:

But this year?  The website is expired. (Somebody holler if it gets renewed, please.)  Free parking at GoDaddy.com is limited, it appears.

Whatever happened to the idea that we might reconsider Columbus Day, what we celebrate, and how to celebrate wisely to honor indigenous Americans?

Do we need more material like this?

  16,244 views

More to consider: 


George Clooney’s malaria? DDT didn’t cure it

January 25, 2011

Not sure why, but pro-DDT sites have been harping about George Clooney’s having contracted malaria, a second time, while performing one of his humanitarian acts in southern Sudan.

George Clooney in Sudan, Time Magazine photo

George Clooney in Sudan, Time Magazine photo

True, Clooney got malaria.  His take?

“This illustrates how with proper medication, the most lethal condition in Africa can be reduced to bad ten days instead of a death sentence.”

Sometimes it may pay to remember that malaria is disease caused by a parasite who must live part of its life cycle in humans, and part of its life in mosquitoes.  Killing mosquitoes only works until the next susceptible mosquito comes along to bite an infected human.

The goal of malaria prevention and eradication campaigns generally is to cure the humans, so regardless how many mosquitoes may be in a given location and regardless how many people they may bite, there is no malaria pool for the mosquitoes to draw from, to spread to other humans.

To beat malaria, we need to prevent the spread of the disease.  At some point that requires providing quick and accurate diagnoses of which parasites cause the infection, and a complete and completed regimen of therapeutic pharmaceuticals to actuall cure the human victims.  DDT is mostly a bystander in that crucial part of the fight.

What was Clooney doing in Sudan?  According to the New York Daily News:

Clooney was in Sudan in December to work with Google and the UN on a human rights project that combines satellite imagery analysis and field reports to prevent a new war from occurring in the troubled country.

“We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we’re watching, the world is watching,” he said in a statement at the time. “War criminals thrive in the dark. It’s a lot harder to commit mass atrocities in the glare of the media spotlight.”

Do you consider it odd that Clooney’s contracting malaria might gather more news in western outlets than his actual trip to Sudan, to call attention to the campaign against genocide?

Top Ten evil people of 20th century

June 2, 2008

Ranked by number of people put to death under their regime, at ReasonableCitizen.

Accurate?  What do you think?

Oh, no, of course Rachel Carson is nowhere on the list.  This guy is looking for real evil, not imagined evil.

Other resources:


The Wrong Stuff, on purpose: Weikart misquotes Darwin

May 10, 2008

Richard Weikart is an arm of the Discovery Institute’s disinformation brigade. A couple of years ago he published a book attempting to link Darwin to the Holocaust in a blame-sharing arrangement. This book and some of its arguments appear to be the foundation of the text used to write the script for the mockumentary movie “Expelled!” featuring Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein.

Which is to say, the basis for the movie is dubious. Weikart’s scholarship creating links between Darwin, science and Hitler is quite creative. It is also based on arguments created from Darwin’s writings that mislead the innocent about evolution, science and history, or which get Darwin and evolution exactly wrong.

Michael Ruse published an op-ed in a Florida paper in February — a piece which is no longer available there (anybody got a copy? Nebraska Citizens for Science preserved a copy) — and Weikart responded, restating his creative claims. Alas for the truth, Weikart’s canards are still available at the Discovery Institute website, putting an interesting twist on Twain’s old line: The truth will go to bed at night while a falsehood will travel twice around the world as the truth kicks off its slippers.

Looking for Ruse’s piece, I found Weikart’s response here and here. I composed a quick response pointing out the problems, which I would like to posit here for the record — partly because I doubt Darwiniana gets much traffic, partly because the censor-happy folks at Discovery Institute don’t allow free discussion at their site, and partly so I can control it to make sure it’s not butchered as Weikart butchers Darwin’s text.

At Darwiniana I said:

Weikart’s strip quoting of Darwin is most disappointing. [Weikart wrote:]

Darwin claimed in chapter two of The Descent of Man that there were great differences in moral disposition and intellect between the “highest races” and the “lowest savages.” Later in Descent he declared, “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races.” Racial inegalitarianism was built into Darwin’s analysis from the start.

Darwin argued the differences in intellect and manners between the “highest” of men and the “lowest” of men did NOT change the fact that we are are all related — legally, Darwin’s argument would evidence a claim absolutely the opposite of what Weikart claims. Here are Darwin’s words from Chapter II of Descent of Man, as Darwin wrote them, without Weikart’s creative editing:

Nor is the difference slight in moral disposition between a barbarian, such as the man described by the old navigator Byron, who dashed his child on the rocks for dropping a basket of sea-urchins, and a Howard or Clarkson; and in intellect, between a savage who uses hardly any abstract terms, and a Newton or Shakespeare. Differences of this kind between the highest men of the highest races and the lowest savages, are connected by the finest gradations. Therefore it is possible that they might pass and be developed into each other. [emphasis added]

That’s not inegalitarianism at all — Darwin’s saying they are the same species, related closer than the poets allow. If we stick to the evidence, and [do] not wander off into poetic philosophy, we must acknowledge that Darwin’s own egalitarian spirit shows here in the science, too. It would be an odd kettle of fish indeed that a crabby guy like Hitler, who shared the antiscience bias of Weikart’s organization, would suddenly accept the science of a hated Englishman that ran contrary to his other philosophies. Who makes the error here, Hitler or Weikart? If they both think Darwin endorsed racism, they both do — but there is not an iota of evidence that Hitler based his patent racism on science, let alone the science of an Englishman.

As to the second quote, Weikart leaves the context out, and the context is everything. Darwin is not arguing that “savages” (the 19th century word for “aboriginals”) were less human, nor that they are a different species. He was arguing that in some future time there would appear creationists like Dr. Weikart’s colleagues at the Discovery Institute who will deny evolution because, once Europeans and others with guns conduct an unholy genocide (which Darwin writes against in the next chapter), and once humans wipe out chimpanzees, orangs and gorillas, the other great apes, the creationists can [then] dishonestly look around, blink their eyes and say, “Where are the links? There cannot be evolution between (Animal X) and humans!”

Darwin wrote:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. ‘Anthropological Review,’ April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, [emphasis added] and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

In the end, Darwin wrote against genocide, against racism, and in favor of the higher thinking abilities of all dark-skinned people. He wrote in favor of Christian morality. Darwin himself remained a faithful, tithing Christian to the end of his life.

Such a man, and such amazing science, deserve accurate history, not the fantastic, cowardly and scurrilous inventions Dr. Weikart has given them. We should rise to be “man in a more civilized state” as Darwin had hoped.

Update, July 24, 2008, nota bene:  To anyone venturing here from the Blogcatalog discussion on intelligent design: Get over to the site of Donald Johanson’s Institute for Human Origins, and especially look at the presentation “On Becoming Human.”  Also check out the Evolution Gateway site at Berkeley, especially this page which explains what evolution is, and this page which offers some introduction for what the evidence for evolution really is.  One quick answer to a question someone asked there:  Between H. erectus and modern humans, H. sapiens, in the time sequence we have fossils of H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis.  It’s pretty clear that Neandertal is not ancestral to modern humans, but instead lived alongside modern humans for 50,000 years or so from the Middle East through Southern Europe.  To the question of actual transitional fossils, you’d need to hit the paleontology journals — there are a lot.  You may also benefit from taking a look at the articles at this special Nature site.


Call for help: Real story behind the Holocaust?

May 4, 2008

Historians, help me out here. I’ve recently become aware that many creationists have swallowed as accurate Richard Weikart’s book making Darwin complicit in the Nazi Holocaust of World War II.

I have always dismissed Weikart. His claims fly in the face of history recorded by too many reputable and trustworthy hands. Others aren’t concerned with what history really shows, or are simply ignorant of history (candidates for Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” segment). I am working to assemble what I hope will be a short piece showing the error of Weikart’s claims.

It seems to me there are many holes in the history case Weikart tries to make. And the history case needs to be nailed down, accurately.

Scientists already have responded. The American Academy for the Advancement of Science complains that the scientific inaccuracies in the film muddy the waters between science and religion unfairly and unnecessarily (see video here). The Jewish Anti-Defamation League has complained about the unholy Holocaust claims. Movie reviewers have not been kind to the film, with reviews like the New York Times:

One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.

Still there are creationists, and other people of faith out there, who grant credence to Weikart’s claims. So we need a clear rebuttal to Weikart’s claims, from the history viewpoint.

The National Center for Science Education has a brief that touches on these arguments; what other sources do you recommend on these specific claims listed below?

Weikart makes six claims (I’ve borrowed here from an article he wrote for American Spectator):

1. Darwin argued that humans were not qualitatively different from animals. The leading Darwinist in Germany, Ernst Haeckel, attacked the “anthropocentric” view that humans are unique and special.

That seems directly contrary to the view of Darwin presented in the better biographies. I don’t recall Darwin ever arguing this point at all. Is Weikart imagining this?

2. Darwin denied that humans had an immaterial soul. He and other Darwinists believed that all aspects of the human psyche, including reason, morality, aesthetics, and even religion, originated through completely natural processes.

Darwin never denied the existence of human souls. While Darwin made rather brilliant arguments for how morality could arise through evolution, going so far as to say that morality is necessary for the survival of a social species such as humans, at no point in his arguing for the natural processes does he deny or disavow the supernatural. Descent of Man will offer Darwin’s work on the rise of morals and art — what other sources would you recommend?

3. Darwin and other Darwinists recognized that if morality was the product of mindless evolution, then there is no objective, fixed morality and thus no objective human rights. Darwin stated in his Autobiography that one “can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones.”

Notes from Evil Bender, Creationist quotemining of Darwin: moral relativism edition, has already called out the gross error in Weikart’s claim here — this is quite contrary to what Darwin actually argued and said. But again, there should be a few other sources to rebut Weikart’s claim. Which do you recommend?

4. Since evolution requires variation, Darwin and other early Darwinists believed in human inequality. Haeckel emphasized inequality to such as extent that he even classified human races as twelve distinct species and claimed that the lowest humans were closer to primates than to the highest humans.

Actually, Darwin was a potent advocate of legal equality, for example in his advocacy and support for ending slavery. Weikart’s claim here completely steps away from reality. I admit to not being overly familiar with Haeckel’s work, partly because Haeckel doesn’t represent Darwin, partly because I have just never found the guy’s work particularly interesting or useful. What sources and arguments do you recommend here?

5. Darwin and most Darwinists believe that humans are locked in an ineluctable struggle for existence. Darwin claimed in The Descent of Man that because of this struggle, “[a]t some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races.”

That’s a complete distortion of what Darwin wrote, of course — the NCSE site has a short rebuttal. Darwin was writing of the clash between colonists and natives, largely between Europeans and aboriginals, or between Europeans with guns and aboriginals without them. Key case in point: The Tasmanian “Wars,” which led to the almost complete extinction of native Tasmanians, a sad circumstance Darwin saw on his voyage. Got other sources you recommend?

6. Darwinism overturned the Judeo-Christian view of death as an enemy, construing it instead as a beneficial engine of progress. Darwin remarked in The Origin of Species, “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.”

This claim is so full of hooey I’m not sure where to start. What do you think? Can you imagine how quickly Darwin would have gotten his shotgun out for some fool who suggests, like Weikart does here, that Darwin was not grieved by the death of Annie? Are you outraged at the butchering of the last paragraph from Origin of Species?

There are a lot of Christians who should know better who have been misled by this claptrap. Will you help me make a brief against Weikart’s claims?

Comments are open. Please chime in.


Rape in the Congo: When is “never again?”

April 5, 2008

An epidemic of brutal, and constant, rapes in Congo made me wonder when the world will stand up against such mass, directed violence.

A new movie asks the same question: The Greatest Silence – Rape in the Congo.  The movie premieres on HBO on Tuesday, April 8, 2008.

Poster for movie, The Greatest Silence

War in the Congo is not about liberty, it’s not really about the politics of a nation, at least, not a nation as any book defines it. At this point, the conflict is over who controls deposits of ores, some fo them rare, from which today’s modern technological devices are manufactured. The world needs to worry about blood diamonds, but also blood cell phones, blood iPods and blood computers.

Seriously, when does “never again” begin?


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