Rant 2006-12-21: Lincoln, Irak and Quoting

Notes before reading:
*For an explanation on how this rant is organized, please: read this.
*This rant is posted in this thread, under "Privacy only goes so far...", then "too many people are ready to accept erosion...", then "You will have a lot less freedom once America...", then "Terrorist will never destroy this country...", then "'Whereas, it has become necessary to...", and finally "Wonder why he was..." Sorry, Wired.com commentary section is kinda weird, I'll post the relevant parts here.
*The discussion is about an article that talks about USA's government practices during 2006 (like imprisoned journalists, torture and the Patriot Act).
- The conversation turned from the war to quoting... I don't know what to think anymore, hehe.
- A guy that goes by the name of Pacothelovemonkey posted the following as a response for the article:

Privacy only goes so far.. We are at war here and a lot of people forget that. I don't know what kind of a person you are but clearly you have no idea what has to be done to win. It seems by you anger about all these 'violations of civil liberties' you don't' care for us to win. I don't know where your head is, or what you are thinking or if you have any real idea what is going on in the world. I hope one day you can open you eyes and realize that the with our great president tapping everyone's phones (he's not get over it) to catch people trying to kill us isn't a bad thing. He's not arresting you for hate him, or hugging a tree. He's doing the right thing. Which is more then I can say about (the little) i know about you.

- Then jayh replied:

too many people are ready to accept erosion of our constitutional and moral standards while the sit around and munch their 'freedom fries'

I believe in freedom. I believe in the America envisioned by the founders, who realized that in the long run, the unrestrained state itself is a serious danger. I do not accept sacrificing freedom or our lowering our standards of behavior (torture etc) because some people are scared.

- Then mmichaels1970 said:

You will have a lot less freedom once America has been destroyed by our enemies who are using sympathies like yours against us. The founders didn't envision their citizens sitting by while our enemies plotted to blow us up and manipulate our legal system to enable them to do so.

- To which jdiaz1 beautifully responded with:

Terrorist will never destroy this country. The country will destroy itself by feeding the fear. Turn on your TV and it's Fear 24-7. People forgot what this country great. Turning over our sacred rights and making America a police state will not make you safe.

"Those who give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security."

Benjamin Franklin

- But the same mmichaels1970 came back with the next Lincoln quote during the Civil War:

"Whereas, it has become necessary to call into service not only volunteers but also portions of the militia of the States by draft in order to suppress the insurrection existing in the United States, and disloyal persons are not adequately restrained by the ordinary processes of law from hindering this measure and from giving aid and comfort in various ways to the insurrection;

Now, therefore, be it ordered, first, that during the existing insurrection and as a necessary measure for suppressing the same, all Rebels and Insurgents, their aiders and abettors within the United States, and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice, affording aid and comfort to Rebels against the authority of United States, shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment by Courts Martial or Military Commission:

Second. That the Writ of Habeas Corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion shall be, imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prison, or other place of confinement by any military authority of by the sentence of any Court Martial or Military Commission.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this twenty fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the 87th."


Wonder why he was assassinated?

That political move was very difficult for him, and the Civil War was a heavy weight over his shoulders. A lot of chaos happenned, and, was it necessary? I certainly don't know, but the hit in America because of it is still felt throughout the South. It's a big scar, to say the least, caused by an abandon of a principle for an apparent greater truth: they were at war back then in their own soil, battling at face level, chaos was everywhere. Lincoln needed to act quickly to recover peace, and he did at a great expense.

You say you're at war, war against what? Do you see your enemy's face? Do you know who your enemy is? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, the fear has brought you to a belief of despair that isn't really there, and your government is the only one to blaim for that. Yes, you may be attacked at any time (the probability of such, although infinitely slim, is still there, so, fine, I'll give you that one); what happenned in the World Trade Center was a complete tragedy and abomination, but that isn't the first time it has happenned, and you don't have to go back that far to realize the enormity of the amount of terrorist attacks you have received throughout your history which were also tragedies and abominations. But those attacks back then were dealt in a manner that was up to the circumstances: dignified and not blown out of proportion (pardon the pun). There are scumbags out there who take their religion/beliefs too seriously, and only a small group of them speak arabic. They do not represent a country, they represent a way of thinking, which, like the Ku Kux Klan, is extremist: they won't be eliminated by war, if you kill one, the children, spouses, brothers, sisters, etc. will become extremist as well (eye for an eye, and everybody ends up blind). I have no clue how Irak came into the picture here; how this small country was suddenly the target because of the "terrorist threat that dwellt within it" makes as much sense as beating the crap out of a guy because he MAY have cancer.

The renounce of a principle so basic as Habeas Corpus and the right to privacy has to be called for as the very last resource during a war (as Lincoln did, and payed with his life for it), but this administration threw it out the window in the first few months! And you caved, spewing out the same argument your government told you to spew: "We're at war. It's necessary." No, you're not. No, it isn't. War is bilateral, war is chaos, war is fear down your throat by the enemy: veterans out there must be so hurt when people around them scream this kind of bull without knowing what a war is. What you need to be doing, instead of worrying about what principles to give up to win the war (how stupid does that sound?!), is to be weary of the persons that are fighting FOR you, y'know, the persons that are over there, overcoming a real fear (death) of a real threat (a hidden bomb), under the unfortunate impression that they are there preserving your freedom, which over here you're flushing down the toilet because of a make-believe fear of a make-believe threat. Pray for them, ask God (and your government) to give them the tools to pass through what they're dealing with and have them come back safely soon; either that, or just shut the hell up.

I'm Mexican, by the way... shame that a person like me has to point that out for you.

mmichaels1970's Reply:
Wow. That quote must have touched a nerve. Considering I only posted it verbatim and provided no opinion, you must be a psychic.

My point is that people are too quick to throw quotes around like those that are alleged to come from people like Benjamin Franklin (see http://www.futureofthebook.com/stories/storyReader$605 for some good research, in my opinion).

By the way, the quote I provided was accurate. For every quote someone can attribute to an American hero, another can be found from someone who is arguably just as or more heroic.

My Reply:
Hehe, yes it did. Although, the reply wasn't just for the quote, but for your previous post as well (I thought I made that clear in there, sorry for that). And in your previous post you did provide an opinion which I was commenting about, which goes along the same way of thinking of paco and others here, so it's for them as well (and I really didn't made that clear, apologies).

Anyway, I agree about your point about people throwing quotes. I understand that Benjamin Franklin himself in a letter to David Hulme actually wrote that it wasn't his quote at all; some people believe that Richard Jackson it's the author (yeah, wikipedia rocks!). This is probably also stated in the link you provided, but I couldn't read anything in it as it failed to open.

And you are correct about "For every quote someone can attribute to an American hero, another can be found from someone who is arguably just as or more heroic", because people think differently, specially in different eras. Throwing quotes around is not a way to argument a point and it shouldn't be perceived as such, is just for dramatic purposes, really.

Furthermore, there's the case in which they don't even make sense! For example, as an argument against war, I can throw something like:

"To place any dependence upon militia, is, assuredly, resting upon a broken staff."
- George Washington, 1776

And you, argumenting for it, can throw it back at me with:

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive. And with it, everything honorable and glorious."
- George Washington, 1781

BOTH ARE FROM THE SAME PERSON! And then we'll both say "what the f...?" The thing is that a person, being heroic or not, changes throughout their life (those quotes are five years apart), and you can't expect that they will think the same way from their birth till their death: rendering the whole concept of quoting as an argument useless.

The only way that it may be useful is to provide the historical context of the quote (which I tried to give to the one you provided from Lincoln, in my last post). But, as you may have seen, to provide it while argumenting is not only very impractical, but also kills the drama that you may want to build with the quote, so what's the use?

So, yeah, agreed, hehe... when I start writing, I can't find a way to stop, sorry =P

New song: lwb, and sorry!


Just a brief announcement: there's a new song for the demo called 'lwb' that you can download from my box.net public share. It's number 14, kinda short, but nice. Comment away!

Also, sorry for the last post... had a weird day, little sleep, and noone to say "what the hell are you writing?" and stop me. Although, there's a weird sense of logic in there, I don't know, I'll keep it around just in case, hehe.

Weird Sleeping Numbers

Just three more days... just three letters. Mum says hi, dad says "good job", and I say "lot to do". Having some interesting advances, some interesting chat with supervisor and advisor that leads me to believe that I know nothing... well, no, something, but close to nothing, but the little that I know is actually kinda useful; who would've thought? Smelly, but useful...
Control control control... math math math... AI AI AI... just three... or three squared: three in a box, you might say, but the box may not be squared, there are round boxes, hexagonal ones, and collateral damage ones (DHL uses this last ones, btw), so no, three squared is not the same that three in a box, but it's kinda like an uptight three, y'know, those threes that don't think outside the box (being square, round, hexagonal or collateral), so, if you think about it, yeah: three squared may be the same as a three inside a box (look at me, contradicting and all), but not because of the type of box, is because of the social elements that the three is given because of being inside the box...

Ironically, the four may be quite confused by all of this because, well, it is by nature a square number, but it's not inside a box, so it may be thinking "what the hell, three? what you doin' inside a box?" (yeah, four also has a little boston accent) "there's no way you can be square!" but the three can answer:

3: "f**k you, four! i can be square and you know it: you have your two, i have 1.732"
4: "that's ludacris! sing us a song, ludacris"
ludacris: "yo yo yo! i don't wana be part of any of this"
4: "fine... three, i need the consent from one, seven, three and two (that whore) to know if what you said is correct, but it seems that it isn't, i mean four (me! yay) numbers to be your root... i dunno"
3: "you're just racist, four. you may think you come from a pure race (just 2's) but there are others numbers out there that come from different background, a lovely mixture of races to form a wonderful rainbow of numbers. isn't that right, 5?"
5: (eating chocolate) "yeah... sorry to dissapoint, but 2.236 is my root, and well, i have to say i was kinda ashamed of it, but not anymore... thank you, three!"
3: "no problem"
4: "you're from two as well??? oh my god! i... i... i'm whore squared!"
8: "uhmmm... can i interject a little bit?"
3: "i think you have just answered you're own question, eight..."
8: "oh, hehe, right... anyway, if i remember correctly, this whole issue began with three wanting to be squared, not with three wanting to be a square number, so it's kinda pointless if you think about it."
3: "oh crap... where's nine? i need to get to 9, before..."
9: "hello three... we need to talk... you say you come from 1, 7, 3, and that little whore 2... does that mean that i don't come from a pure race? that being 3's? mmm?? that i come from little 1's and 7's as well? because i don't recall having a 7 as a grandpa, do you?? that's... that's just wrong! is like having a 6 as your dad!" (shivers)
6: "hey! i resent that!"
5: "nobody cares, and noone listens to you, six... so shut up, come here and let's a make a thirty!"

(scene cut because of unsuitable math for children... hehe, gives a whole other meaning to the symbol: * doesn't it? hehe...)

3: "uh... damn you eight!! my whole purpose in life was to become a square number, and you come and... and... for god sake's six, cover your hole! no wonder nobody cares about you... and watch your thirties, now they're everywhere!" (picks up one of them)
3: "aren't they little nice thirties, though? i don't know, they kinda look like me, don't they?" (little tear coming out of his, uhmm, well, don't know really, haven't seen a three cry before)
3: "you aren't a square number either, are you little thirty?"
30: "what's square? like a four? iou!! no! wouldn't want to be square if i'm like four!"
8: "hahaha... good point, you see three? there's no need to be square, because you can always be squared, and nobody would give a rat's ass where you come from, you are the one that everybody else is coming from... cool, isn't it?"

three, the little thirty and eight, and everyone else is happy with the situation, except for four... four has something up his, well, not sleeve, cuz, if you think about it they're all naked, but, ok, four 'has a secret' (better, isn't it?) that's about to be revealed:

4: (trembling) "don't listen to eight! he's not to be trusted... you fools, he interjected without giving me the chance to say 'no', he's like a vampire, you see... like the devil, confusing you with logic, but you seem to forget something about his nature that makes him unworthy of our trust... you may dislike me because i come from that little whore two, what is it you call me? whore squared? ok... but eight is... haha, eight is..." (suspenseful pause... which isn't really, I mean, you can just skip this sentence and end the suspense, but you aren't... do you like suspense that much that you're willing to read all this rubbishness for it? you're wierd! are you aware of the freakishness that resides in you?? my god, you... you make me sick!)

4: "EIGHT'S WHORE CUBED!!!" (gasps from everybody)
3: "is it true, eight? you have being lying to me all this time? not only that you come from that little whore, but you, of all numbers here, are the only one cubed???"
8: (crying) "IT'S TRUE! but it wasn't my fault, i swear! it was four's fault, he's... he's my father! and HE MULTIPLIED WITH TWO!" (everybody groans in disgust)
6: (fainting)
5: (vomiting)
3: "c'mon five, these were a new pair of shoes!"
7: "alright! who f**ked two again? four? nailed the grandma! alright! here are some antibodies if it starts itching." (oh yeah, seven's a perv)
4: "damn you eight! that was our secret! that drunken night... i thought it was five, i swear! damn mirrors!"
5: "hey hey! don't even think of coming up with some similarities between me and that little whore... yes, i admit, it is somewhere in my root, but that's all... god, it makes me shiver just to think about it!"

2: "ENOUGH! i've had it up to here with your 'little whore' this, 'little whore' that... i'm not little, i'm not a whore... i just like multiplying, that's all! is that such a crime? you do it everyday!"
1: "uhmmm... honey? can we go back... i'm getting the urge, hihi."

everybody: "IOUUUUUU!!!"
5: "two's doing grand grandma!!!"
7: "now that's sick!"
4: (vomiting)
3: "jesus! why does everybody turn my way when they're puking!"

1: "what? it's not like i haven't multiplied with any of you before!!!"

(crickets singing)

everybody, silent, went back to their houses... and a whole lota 12's and 20's and 42's and 24's and 18's and 15's and 21's and 45's and 9's and 8's and 7's and 6's and 5's and 4's and 3's and 2's and even little 1's (yes, apparently that's also possible) came out the next day and said "MULTIPLY YOU!!!"


Does prayer change the outcome of things? I mean, if it's God's will, why would a prayer change anything if it's already written down?

I am free to do as I wish: I can go crash my car if I want to. There's nothing stopping me, except if I fall down the stairs or can't find my keys; pretty random stuff, you know? But there lies God's hand, blessed randomness: if something would happen on this Earth by his will, it won't happen by a big ass hand coming down from the sky and stealing my keys, he has to work through already existing in this world (like a programmer, using other programs or circuitry to interact with the operating system).

He built you, he knows you, and prayer is a two way communication. Prayer is not going to change the world to do your bidding (and nothing's written yet), but it's going to change YOU to do your bidding, and that does change the outcome of things. It's not God will the one that changes through prayer (he wants you to do good, period, he doesn't concern himself with mortal problems), it's your will that changes.

[click the title... interesting read... =)]