Clinton on FOX & Revisionist History

"That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now," Clinton said in the interview. "They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try, they did not try." --Bill Clinton

You're really trying Bill, but that's not the point.

So like most of the rest of the world, I saw former President Clinton lose his mind at Chris Wallace. I've also listened to and read my share of commentary on the events. Clinton commented during the interview about how he left a detailed Al Qaeda war plan and President Bush did nothing for 8 months before we were attacked, and such statement has already been disputed by Secretary of State Rice (and you know who I believe). I know the Clintons have testified before several courts of law that they don't remember anything that was happening, but doesn't anyone remember what the hell was going on during this time period?

I have heard statements from both the left and the right along the lines of "well yeah Clinton didn't do much, but Bush had 8 months and he didn't do much either".
Now, I know how damned short the American memory tends to be, so let's all travel back a bit to the 2000 election and the associated aftermath. I'm not even going to bore everyone with some already done examination of Clinton's lack of any serious response to terrorism under his watch because he was too busy using the Oval Office as a brothel, I just want to examine what went on between the 2000 election and the attack on America on 11 September 2001.

Why was President Bush perhaps unable to do much of his job during that first 8 months? Does anyone remember?
I think we all remember Bush v. Gore. While Gore and the Traitorous Democrat Left (which includes mainstream press) were doing their best to use the Florida courts and the precincts run by their own people to steal the Presidency, then President-Elect Bush was prohibited from allowing his transition team to start working. All the while, the Taliban were ready to hand bin Laden over to a third party country, or the International Court of Justice, in exchange for having the US-led sanctions against Afghanistan lifted, such offer was refused by none other than the "trying" President Clinton. Nonetheless, the case Gore v. Harris finally ended the election ordeal on 22 December 2006. More than 2 months of transition team work for the Bush Administration was lost.

After almost no transition time, President Bush finally took office, perceivably weak due to the litigation that had just ended. The stories of all of the criminals Clinton pardoned in his last days of office dominated the news, along with the continued whining of the traitorous Democrat Left about stolen elections. Why is it that these idiots can't seem to understand that 1961 was the last time their party had an elected President who wasn't a total fluke? So oh yeah, the election was stolen...but that is a different post.

Anyway, so, President Bush moves into the White House to find the place in shambles. What had been left behind, what the Criminal Clintons didn't steal, outgoing staffers of both Clinton and Gore trashed. We don't know the extent of the vandalism because the Bush folks had too much class to dignify, but we do know that it wasn't just computers and office supplies. Numerous reports highlight how in shambles the Clinton Administration left any intelligence and transitional items, in a futile effort to hide their own incompetence.

In short: President Bush had to use his first 8 months in office to rebuild the White House and the Presidency. Clinton's shenanigans are responsible for every victim of 11 September 2001. So yes, when Clinton lied, people died.

I guess what surprises me the most, is that people are still actually shocked when B.J. Billy exhibits unflattering, undesirable, or unclassy behavior. Give me a break, most of you were indeed around for the past 8 freakin' years. His entire Presidency was unflattering, undesirable, and unclassy.


Cop Swap

I think the citizens of the City of Houston would be glad to trade King Harold in for this guy.


Recommended Reading du Jour

I'd say Mr. Goldberg is right on target with this one. Not much else to be stated.


The Barbarians are Revolting...

...and this appears to be why...this time.

The following is the actual prepared text from which Pope Benedict XVI spoke as he addressed the University of Regensburg on Tuesday, 12 September. The speech, as delivered, is slightly different from the text. Yes, it is long, and yes you should read it, because it appears to be the newest non-issue over which these rational practitioners of the "religion of peace" are screaming, throwing tantrums, and setting things on fire.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a moving experience for me to stand and give a lecture at this university podium once again. I think back to those years when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the University of Bonn. This was in 1959, in the days of the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves.

We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas: the reality that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason-- this reality became a lived experience.

The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the whole of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical skepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on-- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara-- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian.

The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the three Laws: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point-- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself-- which, in the context of the issue of faith and reason, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:

Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.

God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats. To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death.

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: "For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.

As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: In the beginning was the logos. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos.

Logos means both reason and word-- a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.

The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: Come over to Macedonia and help us! (cf. Acts 16:6-10)-- this vision can be interpreted as a distillation of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.

In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and declares simply that he is, is already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates's attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: I am.

This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature.

Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at Alexandria-- the Septuagint-- is more than a simple (and in that sense perhaps less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God's nature.

In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which ultimately led to the claim that we can only know God's voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the realm of God's freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God's transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions.

As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran IV). God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love transcends knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1).

This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history-– it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.

The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral part of Christian faith has been countered by the call for a dehellenization of Christianity-– a call which has more and more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the program of dehellenization: although interconnected, they are clearly distinct from one another in their motivations and objectives.

Dehellenization first emerges in connection with the fundamental postulates of the Reformation in the 16th century. Looking at the tradition of scholastic theology, the Reformers thought they were confronted with a faith system totally conditioned by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of the faith based on an alien system of thought. As a result, faith no longer appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching philosophical system. The principle of sola scriptura, on the other hand, sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word. Metaphysics appeared as a premise derived from another source, from which faith had to be liberated in order to become once more fully itself. When Kant stated that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he carried this program forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could never have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical reason, denying it access to reality as a whole.

The liberal theology of the 19th and 20th centuries ushered in a second stage in the process of dehellenization, with Adolf von Harnack as its outstanding representative. When I was a student, and in the early years of my teaching, this program was highly influential in Catholic theology too. It took as its point of departure Pascal’s distinction between the God of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In my inaugural lecture at Bonn in 1959, I tried to address the issue. I will not repeat here what I said on that occasion, but I would like to describe at least briefly what was new about this second stage of dehellenization. Harnack’s central idea was to return simply to the man Jesus and to his simple message, underneath the accretions of theology and indeed of hellenization: this simple message was seen as the culmination of the religious development of humanity. Jesus was said to have put an end to worship in favor of morality. In the end he was presented as the father of a humanitarian moral message. The fundamental goal was to bring Christianity back into harmony with modern reason, liberating it, that is to say, from seemingly philosophical and theological elements, such as faith in Christ’s divinity and the triune God.

In this sense, historical-critical exegesis of the New Testament restored to theology its place within the university: theology, for Harnack, is something essentially historical and therefore strictly scientific. What it is able to say critically about Jesus is, so to speak, an expression of practical reason and consequently it can take its rightful place within the university. Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically expressed in Kant’s “Critiques”, but in the meantime further radicalized by the impact of the natural sciences. This modern concept of reason is based, to put it briefly, on a synthesis between Platonism (Cartesianism) and empiricism, a synthesis confirmed by the success of technology. On the one hand it presupposes the mathematical structure of matter, its intrinsic rationality, which makes it possible to understand how matter works and use it efficiently: this basic premise is, so to speak, the Platonic element in the modern understanding of nature. On the other hand, there is nature’s capacity to be exploited for our purposes, and here only the possibility of verification or falsification through experimentation can yield ultimate certainty. The weight between the two poles can, depending on the circumstances, shift from one side to the other. As strongly positivistic a thinker as J. Monod has declared himself a convinced Platonist/Cartesian.

This gives rise to two principles which are crucial for the issue we have raised. First, only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific. Anything that would claim to be science must be measured against this criterion. Hence the human sciences, such as history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy, attempt to conform themselves to this canon of scientificity. A second point, which is important for our reflections, is that by its very nature this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned.

This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate.

Before I draw the conclusions to which all this has been leading, I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself.

And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application.

While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.

Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology.

Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought: to philosophy and theology.

For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: “It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being - but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss”.

The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the program with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. “Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God”, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.


Original Gangster

Today I learned that the lovely Tamara is a Cypress Hill fan. Who would’ve thought?

Or else it’s just an odd coincidence that her blog post and a Cypress Hill track share the exact same name. This being the intarwebs, we sneer at the idea of coincidence. Everything is insidiously connected by the vast strands of the great conspiracy. Just because the connection isn’t obvious to you, the casual observer, doesn’t mean it’s not there. In fact, your cluelessness is probably deliberate obtuseness to cover up your willing participation as a pawn of some faction. You’re not here because of boredom or a desire to read our opinions. Someone sent you here to keep an eye on what we might be saying, in case we reveal too much information, didn’t they? Hah! Passing yourself as someone who came here via a search engine looking for ”AARP Sucks” won’t work, you know! We’re on to your little tricks! You won’t get away with this!

Ahem. Pardon me. I have to refill my prescription.

Anyhow, regardless of what you think about Cypress Hill or conspiracies, the post is good readin’ and explains why a lot of people get concealed carry permits. As someone else once pointed out, the fact that the odds of being assaulted are one in a million doesn’t provide much help or comfort when you suddenly become that one. A pistol is much more useful when the odds have run against you.



No great rememberances or deep thoughts on what the passage of the last 5 years means. I'm not the kind of person that thinks we need to enshrine every tragedy in glass to be collectively moaned over at appropriate moments. If you're looking for that, I'm sure you can find plenty of it elsewhere.

Instead, I'd like you to think on the response to 9/11. Figure out what was handled well, what was handled poorly, and what still needs to be done. Then go do something towards a better outcome. Otherwise, nothing changes and it'll happen again.


All Y’all…

Well, according to what I have been reading, today is the day when people running ads can’t mention incumbents by name. We’re 60 days out from the November 7th election date, so mentioning the current crop of asshats by name in advertising just became illegal. I’d like to take a moment to thank John McCain (R-Illiterate) and Russ Feingold (D-Fascist) for completely and totally eviscerating the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. Way to go, fucknuts! I’d like to thank them appropriately, but I am fairly certain I would end up in jail if I did that.

In honor of this auspicious day, I’m going to do exactly what the law says people shouldn’t. I’m going to tell you which incumbents you should vote against. The short answer is pretty much everybody currently holding office. Anyhow, on with the fun.

All of my choices are based on the info maintained by the Secretary of State.

Kay Bailey Hutchison – Don’t vote for our senior Senator. She has become more than useless, she’s become embarrassing.

Rick Perry – Don’t vote for him, either. Don’t piss on my back and tell me it’s raining. I know what a tax increase looks like, even if this idiot Aggie doesn’t.

David Dewhurst – Don’t vote for this weasel. You have one of the most powerful offices in that state, grow a spine and act like it.

About the only incumbent I see on the list I would vote for is Jerry Patterson. The rest of them? Meh. Go home and meditate on your sins while reciting the preamble to the Constitution. Remember that the government, at all levels, exist to serve the citizen and not the other way around. Remember that the basis of the American system of government is the idea that government is limited to those few functions specifically authorized, not every function not expressly forbidden. Until you people relearn these very simple facts, you should not get re-elected.

On a similar, but not entirely related note, don’t vote for Shelley Sekula-Gibbs or Nick Lampson. SSG, while personally a very nice woman, is another big-government nanny state efenant. We’ve had enough of those for a while, haven’t we? I don’t need the government to tell me what to do and steal all of my money in the process. Nick Lampson is just another in a long line of intellectually bankrupt donks who thinks that throwing more money at the same old problems is going to get a different result. The larger, louder, generally more obnoxious half of YPS* suggests you vote for Bob Smither.

* A small disclaimer is in order here for the comprehension impaired. I, that is to say T, am endorsing Bob Smither. J is not. Some people have a tendency to get us confused because they either can’t distinguish the two letters, or they’re just stupid. I’m not sure which.