Thursday, October 27, 2016

Scott Adams endorses Trump!

In a recent post (here) Scott Adams (author of the Dilbert comic strip) announced that he has decided to support Trump. He is not allowing comments on his post, but his rationale is so misguided that I feel compelled to respond, so I'm putting it here.

I guess I should stop reading Dilbert now. Too bad comments are disallowed on that post.

His main beef about Hillary seems to be the estate tax. Big deal. Yes it's double taxation, but so what. Lots of things are double taxed. Corporate dividends are double taxed (the corporation pays tax on its profit, and then you pay tax on the dividends, which come out of profits). Second, who is harmed? People who didn't earn the money in the first place. Third, it doesn't matter because nobody actually pays estate tax anyway. Rich people all have their money in trusts, if they care.

Furthermore, there is no surprise that the platform uses weasel words about taxes. It would be nice if it could be open and transparent, but since nobody wants more taxes, you are never going to see a nice list. The fact that you can find it at all is the best you can expect.

The more important point is that he doesn't seem to realize that Trump is certifiably insane. He is not qualified to "lead" or "persuade" or anything else. Just because Scott Adams doesn't know how to solve ISIS doesn't mean that it's an even call between Hillary and Trump. Hillary probably doesn't know either, so there's some chance she'll screw it up, but not without giving it careful consideration. We know for sure that Trump doesn't know, and it is almost 100% certain that he'll screw it up, because most likely he will do something completely idiotic. He is just a spoiled, narcissistic, overgrown child after all. And keep in mind that congress offers almost no restraint these days on the president's use of the military.

Finally, if Hillary wins it's true that many of us won't exactly be celebrating, but we will all breath a sigh of relief that at least we'll still be able to vote again in four years. But if Trump somehow wins, we will definitely be crying and thinking about going to Canada.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Suicide Bombers

Suicide Bombers

I don't know if it's true, but I have heard that the waiting list at ISIS to be a suicide bomber is so long they can't make bombs fast enough. I'm thinking the draw must be something like this, modeled on the time-share sales method used here.

Ring...ring...Hello...Congratulations, you and your entire family have been selected to spend an eternity of bliss in heaven with Allah, blessed be he. Plus, you'll be greeted by 72 virgins. All you have to do is attend a brief meeting with one of our friendly salesmen, after which we're sure you'll want to begin your stay immediately.

But more seriously, it seems like terrorists in general, and Islamic terrorists in particular, must be suicidal to begin with, because they almost always end up dead, often by their own hand, if not by the police. If you are not a Muslim, you don't get any special percs for killing other people, not to mention that in Christianity, suicide is a sin. Still, you might decide that as long as you are going, you might as well kill some "bad" people while you're at it, like abortion providers or racist police.

But if you are Muslim, and suicidal, a different kind of logic may enter your mind. Not only can you end your suffering by dying, you can get guaranteed entry into heaven, not only for yourself, but for all your close relatives, if you die a martyr by killing infidels in the pursuit of jihad. Most other people in the US and Europe are not only infidels, but they openly break almost every tenet of sharia law, so by killing as many as possible, you are surely a hero of the faith.

Now even if we could somehow wipe out all of the extremist political groups in the middle east and elsewhere, this is not going to prevent Islamic terrorism. The people involved will go underground, and the religion will continue, in all its forms, both extremist and otherwise. The web sites promoting violent jihad will not go away.

So what can we do? It seems impossible to prevent suicide. Suicide is a much more common event than many people realize. Unless you are famous, your suicide will likely receive little publicity, partly because suicide is considered an embarassment to the family. So it seems like the best thing would be to eliminate the chain of logic which leads to a life in heaven. Muslim groups in the US invariably claim that Islam is a religion of peace. This remains to be demonstrated, given its recent history elsewhere in the world. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the Bible is at least as violent and non-peaceful as the Koran, but it has become mostly peaceful rather recently, by conveniently "deactivating" those parts that call for war, genocide and death.

So how about we plead with Muslims to make sure they all agree that you do not, in fact, go to heaven for killing infidels. Imams should preach it, parents should teach their children, and friends should tell their friends. If they refuse, on the grounds that you actually do go to heaven for killing infidels, then obviously we have a bit of a problem, peace-wise. Alternatively, they may think it silly, because no Muslim in the US would think that, we would need to have a conversation about why that might not be true.

Lets say they do make this effort. I predict that some individuals would openly disagree, asserting that they know better, and that you really do go to heaven. This raises lots of questions about whether we can identify such individuals, and, having done so, what could be done about it. But if we could succeed in getting even this one potential problem on the radar, that would be a huge success, and I predict that other related problems might well come out of the woodwork on the way.