Mike Renzulli

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Everything posted by Mike Renzulli

  1. I wanted to start a new thread specifically about Islam itself. It may have been addressed in previous threads but I think the need for one specifically about Islam is warranted since it hails from the Middle East. Back in August and September I decided to cover the subject of Islam for my Objectivist club. First we saw the film The Third Jihad and then in September an ASU College Professor of Russian language who became interested in Islam and studied up on it after 9/11. All I can say is learning about it was quite eye opening. To sum it up, ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali best describes the religion when she recently stated: Islam is more than a religion, it does have a spiritual dimension, but there is another dimension to Islam--a political dimension. As our guest lecturer, Dr. Carl Goldberg, pointed out the Prophet Muhammad defined the state of peace and tolerance as a moment when the entire world submits to Allah and Islam. The way that the submission is carried out is by settlement (i.e. jihad) and the institution of Sharia Law. The four main sources of Islamic jurisprudence are the Quran, Hadith, Sunnah and Sharia of which they include specific commands to conquer and guidelines on how to do it. The Sunnah or Hadith (I do not remember which) describe how Muhammad (who is not only the prophet of Allah but whose word is considered Allah's word) defeated his enemies in more than 60 military campaigns. The books also describe war tactics, the concept of deception, legislation on crime prevention, punishment of behavior such as the hanging of apostates and the stoning of adulterers, and laws governing family matters such as divorce and marriage. The way Islam is structured not only is dissent in the religion not doable (due to the specifity of the texts on which it is based) but also cannot be tolerated. The religion (if you want to call it that) is a way of life. In terms of war, there were times that Christianity was spread by the sword but the religion can and has been reinterpreted to where it is not in the sense of military campaigns. Islam is and it is a requirement of the religion. Many groups have suspended violent action in favor of pragmatic political activities. If you want to see what life would be like under Islam, you need look no further than Saudi Arabia and Iran.
  2. I understand all of the controversy surrounding the historical flaws regarding David Harriman's book Logical Leap. However, I am more interested in how it rates as a book on induction and if it is sound as far as its author wanting to integrate scientific investigation utilizing induction ala the Objectivist method. From the description the book looks like it is well written. If its not credible anyone know of a good book on the subject that is something Objectivists can appreciate?
  3. Overall an excellent article. However, I wanted correct on minor error on Tracinski's part. In the podcast he cites, Peikoff said Property rights are contextual. Peikoff went on to point out not only the desert island scenario but also that if someone is in possession of a weapon stored in their house (a nuclear bomb I believe) that posed an immediate threat to the rights of the people surrounding said edifice then it was proper for government to seize it and the facility it was stored in. Germany, for example, recently and rightly shut down a mosque in Hamburg that was the place where the 9/11 terrorists help plot their strategy to pull off the WTC and Pentagon attacks and was discovered to be a meeting place for other jihadists too. In the case of the Ground Zero Mosque it is clear that it is being done in the context of the Islamists behind this project to thumb their noses at the U.S. if not western civilization and with Wahabbism being the main export of Saudi Arabia which also happens to be the predominate Islamic sect that occupies most Mosques throughout the world it is clear the GZ Mosque (and possibly others) should not be considered a legitimate religious edifice. I think the one thing that is refreshing about the whole GZM controversy is that it doesn't look like it will be built and it has exposed the stealth jihad people like Rauf and the Muslim American Society and other Islamist groups represent if not Islam itself.
  4. Instead of participating in what seems like a spirited discussion about the meaning of the mind, I will touch on the actual movie itself in my response. I thought Hereafter was a tad slow but am glad Eastwood kept the movie consistent in its story in that it didn't get off track. The acting was good and so were the special effects. As to whether or not Eastwood made this movie to consider if there is an afterlife or the validity of near-death experiences (NDE's), I think ultimately he made this movie because he likes doing what he does and gets paid for it. I don't think it has anything to do with his considering NDE's as much as it is that he likes to make money by making movies. Back in the 1980's I remember some controversy regarding the flick Red Dawn since the movie dealt with the possibility of a communist invasion of Russia. I recall John Milius being criticized for Red Dawn due to their fear of it giving some legitimacy to conspiracy theorists and militia members allegations at the time that the Soviets and their allies would invade America. I think what Milius did for communist invasions is what Eastwood has done for NDE's. He took a (albeit far out) concept and ran with it by making a movie based on a topic not considered by Hollywood producers.
  5. I love House and it is one of my favorite shows. Hugh Laurie's performance and the episodes and acting on the part of cast members are great! I don't know if House would be a good example of an Objectivist but I do like the fact that the character is one who doesn't give a rat's tail what anyone thinks about him and ruthlessly uses his knowledge trying to find the cause of said patient's illness in order to save or cure them. A really good show if one appreciates thinking and that's what House celebrates.
  6. One aspect of Objectivism my group has not spent too much time on is the subject of aesthetics (i.e. art). The 45th Annual Western Art Exhibit (link below) is a a very good art exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum that runs from October 17th until November 21st. The exhibit is hosted by the Cowboy Artists of America (http://www.cowboyartistsofamerica.com/) in which the exhibition was started back in the 1960's by 4 artists based out of Arizona to create and culminate art dedicated to life in the West. It is now one of the most anticipated events in the country and the exhibit features paintings and sculptures done in the past year by artists dedicated to the genre of cowboy art showing life in the West in contemprary and past sense. The best day to go is Wednesday since since admission is free. Any other day during the week the cost is $10 per person. This Western Art Exhibit is a great example of the romantic realism that Ayn Rand wrote about. The sense of life exhibited in the paintings and sculptures is wonderful and the symbolism of the cowboy is the rugged individualism that not only Objectivism stands for but also the United States too. Objectivist author Andrew Bernstein said it best when he said: What we honor about the cowboy of the Old West is his willingness to stand up to evil and to do it alone, if necessary. The cowboy is a symbol of the crucial virtues of courage and independence. I have urged by club members to see this art display every year since I first discovered it 4 years ago and have been amazed at the paintings and sculptures the artists linked to the group that sponsors this have been able to come up with. If this exhibit comes to your area or you happen to be in a city where it is being held, don't miss this fantastic display of excellent artistry that celebrates the pioneering spirit of the American West! http://www.phxart.org/exhibition/exhibitioncowboys45.php
  7. I talked with someone on staff at LFB the other day and the bookstore is going to switch owners .... again. ISIL had some internal strife to where Jim Peron and Mark Pickens ended up folding up their tents and moved to California to start some sort of new venture. What it will entail I am not certain but I am sure it will be related to books. As far as LFB is concerned, the bookstore will now be owned and operated by Agora Financial which, as many of you may know, is multi-million dollar company based out of Maryland (respectfully). I am sure once the inventory for LFB is full transfered LFB will carry most (if not all) of Agora's investment author's books, products, and services. Hopefully Agora will continue what LFB was known for as carrying book titles that are along libertarian and even Objectivist lines. As far as ISIL in concerned, one key staff member (Jim Elwood) is moving back to San Francisco but I am unsure if ISIL will remain in Gilbert, Arizona where they moved to a couple of years ago. The group will go back to doing international conferences which was their signature venture and what ISIL was best known for.
  8. Thanks for the reply. The thread on which the Hsieh's article was put in was very far into the original/beginning subject. I will try to get caught up and participate.
  9. http://blog.dianahsieh.com/2010/10/resignation-of-john-mccaskey-facts.html
  10. Not altogether surprising but I don't think it was a good idea for John McCaskey to post the e-mail nor follow up with comments. I realize Dr. McCaskey should have the right to dissent, however this looks like had he not resigned McCaskey would have been another notch on Leonard Peikoff's belt of ousting people who disagree with him.
  11. I have tried looking for the actual source but am unable to find it. However, I do recall hearing or reading somewhere that a Hamas leader made such a statement. Yet your answers, while condemning attacks don't seem to be the same as condemning terrorism neither have you condemned Hamas specifically. You see, a Fox News reporter pressed a representative of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in a recent news report to condemn Hamas but he would not. The CAIR rep instead side-stepped the question stating that CAIR denounced terrorism and I believe Hezbollah but not Hamas. It has been discovered by an FBI investigation that CAIR has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Thanks to President Obama, the USDOJ bagged a prosecution or investigation into the matter further. Your answers to mine seem vaguely similar to the CAIR spokesperson's answer. So I will ask you once again: do you condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization and the statement made by the group's leader that I quoted geared to kill the Jews?
  12. It was a serious mistake for the Republicans to cave on the government shut down and many of the things they campaigned on with the Contract With America in the mid 1990's. The 2000's were mixed as I have come to appreciate the Presidency of George W. Bush yet their spending money like drunken sailors is obviously one of the factors that did them in at the polls. Like you I hope the Republicans do better this time and it looks like they just might. Recent news reports lead me to conclude they have become more ideological since many conservatives have heeded the call by Rush Limbaugh as per the speech he gave at a CPAC conference not too long ago to, essentially, embrace principles over pragmatism. The Republicans have become much more libertarian than they have in recent years since they are emphasizing economic issues rather than social ones, respectfully. The L.P. for all of its merits was geared to be a educational platform for libertarians as well as one that would do advocacy politics. The problem is that many now want to get elected at any cost even at the expense of the party's core philosophy. Not a good idea for an ideologically driven political party.
  13. This past May I left the Libertarian Party after 12 years and switched to the Republican Party. I was an officer with the L.P. on the state and county level for the last 4 years of my involvement. The reason for my switch was, in part, due to the L.P.'s opposition to the War on Terrorism (on which I have come around) and Obama and the Democrat's socialist agenda. Mainly the enactment of their health care bill. Any lack of differences between the Republicans and Democrats have been erased due to the bailouts, spending, appeasement of radical Islamists and Obamacare. Likewise, a vote cast for a third party candidate (such as a Libertarian or Green) will be wasted since the candidate that can reverse the Obamanomics enacted could be defeated due to votes siphoned away. At best, the best reason to vote Republican is, at the very least, to reverse the crap Obama and Congressional Democrats have pushed through. Hopefully the G.O.P. will gain the majority in Congress and in the state legislatures. Doing so can help stave off anymore nonsense Obama, Pelosi and Reid want to implement. As much as I would like the Libertarian Party to be viable, the unfortunate fact is that they have one major hurdle that inhibits the L.P. from being able to achieve major party status: the first-past-the-post voting method. If the U.S. had ranked choice or single-transfer voting then voters could rank candidates in order of their preference. The way things are now, people have to choose the lesser of two evils. In countries that have alternate voting methods (like Germany) they have viable libertarian-leaning political parties such as the Free Democrats. Until the method of voting and overall culture is changed in the U.S. voters (including libertarians) will have to either not vote or choose candidates from one of the two major parties. The Republican Party is probably as close the U.S. will get to having a libertarian political party. Thoughts anyone?
  14. Hm! I do not see an answer to my question. Perhaps my question was not clear. I will ask this way. One of the heads of Hamas was quoted recently saying he opposed the end of Israel because it would make it easier for his organization to hunt down and kill the Jews. So you support this policy or are you against it? Ah the age old question.. Does one condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization? I had a feeling someone might ask.. I hope you're not looking for a Yes or No answer to that.. I believe there are more than 100 different definitions for terrorism out there so to respond to you with a yes or no, would be unbecoming of anyone that has any intellect. Unless of course, you're a shock jock on the radio or Bill O'Reilly and in those cases the general public seems to accept it.. Which is just stupid and simply a game I don't wish to play. In an article for the NY Times Bruce Hoffman noted: "terrorism is a pejorative term. It is a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one's enemies and opponents, or to those with whom one disagrees and would otherwise prefer to ignore. (...) Hence the decision to call someone or label some organization 'terrorist' becomes almost unavoidably subjective, depending largely on whether one sympathizes with or opposes the person/group/cause concerned. If one identifies with the victim of the violence, for example, then the act is terrorism. If, however, one identifies with the perpetrator, the violent act is regarded in a more sympathetic, if not positive (or, at the worst, an ambivalent) light; and it is not terrorism." So as you can see it's a loaded question that takes on the assumption that a terrorist organization has a specific meaning.. However, if we're looking at terrorism as a specific tactic. That is, a type of guerrilla warfare aimed at harming the infrastructure that is used by a government, army or organization as it was used in the US War of Independence to gain freedom for Americans from the British and establish the USA. Which was a good thing.. Or as it was used in Afghanistan to push the Communists occupiers out of that country.. Or as it was and still is taught to Western intelligence agencies like MI6 and the CIA as well as special forces units like the British Special Air Service and the US' Delta Force to use on Russia should Russia ever attack then that is, in my opinion, a legitimate tactic of warfare. So the question is, when is this tactic justified to be used? I believe it is justified when the tactic is used to try and destroy, impede or remove the ability for a government, army or organization to wage an unjust oppression against innocent people.. I can also say very clearly that even though I am not a part of the military apparatus of New Zealand nor even a citizen here, if New Zealand (God forbid) were to ever be attacked and invaded then I would most certainly resist such an invasion and would definitely employ those 'terrorist' tactics against the occupying army, its infrastructure and any puppet government they tried to set up here. Of course, that is conditional.. It's not just a free for all.. In any type of warfare, including this type of guerrilla warfare I do condemn and would never support nor partake in any attack intended at harming unarmed civilians not engaged in warfare against me and believe the most utmost care should be taken to avoid casualties of unarmed civilians.. That would include condemning attacks that are directed at harming unarmed Israelis..
  15. Adonis, Do you condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization?
  16. Since Barbara posted an endorsement of The Intellectual Activist while advising of a trail offer for the newsletter, I wanted to post a deal (link below) I took advantage of a few weeks back. I have just subscribed to The Wall Street Journal and have found the paper to be a great source of not only international news but also on politics and (of course) business. I found a coupon where you can get a 4 weeks free subscription to WSJ's website that expires at the end of August. Best of all, rather than pay the subscription all at once, WSJ will take monthly installments that average to about $9 a month. The New York Times recently announced they will adopt a subscription-based website is a sign of things to come for internet-based news and their decision spurned me to locate a good news source other than The Grey Lady and in addition to Fox News. I have found The Wall Street Journal to be an outstanding source of news and commentary. http://www.theexaminingroom.com/coupons/wallstreetjournal.html
  17. Okay that settles it. Since Barbara has given TIA her thumbs up, I will jump on the bandwagon. Until recently I didn't know TIA's head Robert Tracinski was purged from ARI due to a disagreement he had with Leonard Peikoff. But if Barbara and Robert Bidinotto like The Intellectual Activist, I think TIA is definitely worth checking out. Out of respect to Robert Tracinski and to honor his work I have linked to TIA at my Objectivist club's website too. I am glad Tracinski stuck to his guns despite being kicked out of ARI. I have read samples of articles posted at TIA's website and they are pretty good! I understand why the naysayers are not too keen to TIA and respect their dissent. But I will give the magazine a try. I can't wait to start reading it!
  18. Jerry's reasons match my own about OL. I like posting and interacting with other people here very much. Overall, the people who paruse these boards are good folk. That includes the ones who run it too.
  19. When: Thursday, August 26th, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. Where: Bookmans Entertainment Exchange 8034 North 19th Avenue Phoenix, AZ Admission: FREE! Event Description: For our second meeting in August Phoenix Objectivists will host a free screening of the documentary: The Third Jihad. There’s a war going on and the major battles take place right here in America. It’s a hidden war against the freedom and values we all take for granted. The enemy is taking advantage of our country’s democratic process, and using it to further its own aims. Most people, busy with their daily lives don’t even realize there’s a war. And that’s just the way the Radical Islamists would like things to remain. The Third Jihad is a ground breaking film that reveals the truth by exposing the destructive aims of Radical Islam and its mounting threat for America and the world. It covers all the major players - the radical extremists and the leaders trying to stop them. The Third Jihad will update you on the most urgent issue of our time in ways you can’t find in the media. Please join us to watch a movie that demonstrates the latest and greatest ideological and political threat to the United States and other western countries since the rise of Naziism, communism and fascism. Running time for the film is 80 minutes. After the movie is done we will discuss the points brought up in it.
  20. I don't like many facets of THE PATRIOT ACT but now believe, overall, we need it in order to combat terrorism. I also bounced the idea of restricting the ability of facilities for cults being built or being able to exist off of Edward Cline on Facebook and he gave a very good response. He stated that people join cults of their own volition (which is true) and that no Scientologist or Moonie has ever flown a jet airliner into a skyscraper nor made it a point to conduct a suicide bombing. He went on to point out that children born and raised in Muslim environments literally become Muslims for life and their ability of volition is crushed. Despite being irrational, cult religions (like the Moonies and Scientologists) are not aggressive beligerent creeds and are not a threat to this country. I largely agree with his point and can understand the logic behind his reasoning on Islam itself. Fortunately, despite assurances of death if one leaves, many people DO leave Islam and nothing ever happens to them. However, I am sure Muslims who leave the faith are largely concentrated in western countries and those who do want to leave Islam in countries where it is prominent are discouraged from doing so or are severely punished.
  21. I tend to agree with this statement, understand and respect where you are coming from. Nth I also thank you for posting the columns. Yet in terms of the overall debate on this subject, what the Imam who is speaking for and leading this effort has not only said but will not do in terms of condemning actual terrorist groups (like Hamas) for their activities I think suspicion and opposition to this is warranted. If an enemy is involved in a deception there are ways to find out either by observing what they do and also what they say. In the case of the Cordoba Project the fact that, according to an op-ed in Forbes mag, Imam Rauf is now traveling throughout middle eastern countries on the State Department dime on a multicultural-oriented trip could mean that he will simultaneously try to convince monarchs of Muslim countries to help pay for it. One of the places Rauf is visiting is Saudi Arabia. As many of you may know, the country outlaws facilities and maybe even the existence of religions other than Islam and is known to help pay for the construction of mosques worldwide. To the best of my knowledge, the Saudis have not done very much to halt the spread of the Wahabbist <sp> theology that was taught in Saudi schools (madrassas) until the U.S. complained about it back when Bush was President and terrorism was at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy. I understand the most Muslims may not want to or will not do what they are told or are advocated by their spiritual leaders. The ones who don't participate in violence and truly want to live in peace should be praised, supported as well as allowed to associate in manners of their choosing. However, Muslims who advocate or participate in activities that promote terrorism or participate in such causes are another matter and should be dealt with harshly. Not far from where I live an Islamic center is going up where the imam the center just hired was one of the 6 flying imams. The group were removed from a USAirways flight in 2006 because the flight staff concluded they acted suspiciously. The imams then later sued with the help of CAIR's legal arm and were given settlement money last year. Some of the imams involved in the incident have been linked to Islamic extremist groups. In fairness I have not seen any evidence that the imam in charge of the Phoenix center is associated with any extremist groups and a review of the Islamic center's website indicates the group that meets there is friendly to outsiders. This tells me that the Islamic center here is probably void of any influences of the radical jihadists and I feel comfortable that it will not be a magnet or harbor for radical Islam. With the radicalization of Faisal Shazad I am very concerned about efforts like Cordoba as well as the potential for radical Islam to come about moreso in this country. Especially since the seeds of it growing much more than it has in the U.S. are there. Unless Cordoba is stopped it would mean a victory for Islamic Jihadists.
  22. I may have been critical of Leonard Peikoff in the past but on this point I have to agree. The fact is that the U.S. government is at war with radical Islam and not the religion itself. By Imam Rauf (who is heading up the project) sidestepping a question posed to him about Hamas is certainly telling of where his loyalties lie. For example, back in May David Horowitz pinned down a UCSD student (who happened to be Muslim) with this point during a Q&A session he gave at a YAF conference held on campus. The student in question tried to dodge answering Horowitz's question on whether or not she condemned Hamas. It wasn't until Horowitz quoted a statement from a Hamas commander that he hoped Israel would still remain in existence since it would make his job of killing the Jews easier (essentially pinning the student down from another angle) if she favored or opposed the Hamas commander's statement that the student finally admitted she was for it which means she supports Hamas and its goal of exterminating the Jews. Edward Cline brought up a good point in an essay he posted about this subject a short time ago. He points out that the City of New York approved the sale of the New Yorker Hotel to Rev. Sun Myung Moon's religion in 1994. The hotel now exists as somewhat of a revenue stream for the Unification Church. The City of New York is going to help enable radical Islam just like it helped enable Moon's cult in 1994 which (as many of you may know) is known to subject its members to brain washing and seperating people from their families. I would not want this center near my property anymore than I would want a center for Scientology or Moon's religion close by either. In the case of the Mosque it will be used as an outlet to spread the ideas of radical Islam which, in turn, will contribute to inspiring more Muslims to become terrorists. The fact is that the U.S. and its allies are at war with the radical strains of Islam which includes the Imams and members of the religion who subscribe to it and the countries and groups who support this theology and terrorist activities. Since that is the case it is proper for government to prevent the sale of a structure and even seize properties or assets of groups or individuals that assist in the spread of this vile, evil ideology. I believe the city of New York acquired the building in question via condemnation that, in turn, makes it the landlord. If the suit against this property sale is successful then you can thank New York City and Mayor Bloomberg for helping to allow the placement of an enemy army literally in our our front yards. To further expand on this point I would also dare to argue that since government is created to protect individual rights it has the right to prevent groups (such as cults) that indulge in involuntary mind control, indoctrination and other activities that involve involuntarily seperating people from their loved ones and friends from being able to create or erect structures or acquire assets so that they can perpetrate their activities and spread their ideas.
  23. Jerry, I apologize for the delay in responding to this but HOLY MACKERAL you hit it right on the head! I would love to read what Krathammer and George Will had to say about Iran too since I agree with you and them that the Iranian coup was justified. Please link to them sometime. You are correct there were certain points of U.S. policy that she criticized but, by and large, she was correct and the U.S. had to act aggressively in order to stop the U.S.S.R. and communism from dominating the world. Thanks so much for this as you said what I have wanted to say for a long time. I lacked the clarity in order to articulate what you have put down all along.
  24. I think the only person being delusional is the author of this essay. She cannot prove her premise and yet relies on ad-hoc accusations and red herrings to make her case. What is disturbing is that the author may have not ever read Hirsi Ali's book Infidel or, if she did, went into reading the book with pre-concieved notions as to what the book is about and/or ignorance about Islam. I base my relationships on the kind of relations I have with others regardless of their race or religion. If they do not try to decieve or lie to me and do not commit acts of aggression against me I will trade and might even look to start a friendship or acquaintance of some kind with them. I have no problem trading and being in relations with Muslims so long as they do not commit acts of violence against me or anyone else. In terms of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's experience, the fact that she has to live in hiding with body guards since her life is still in danger as the result of her work speaks volumes of the people who she has angered. Hirsi Ali has obviously told the truth or those who want her killed or attempt to slander her reputation would instead seek to engage, debate, or discuss her experiences and points in an effort to prove her wrong. Having been a Christian for over 30 years I can associate a similar experience to what Ms. Hirsi Ali went through. Though I did not have my genitals mutiliated, like her ability to think, my ability to think nearly was. Fortunately, and thanks to Ms. Rand's philosophy, I have been able to not only assert my individuality but my sanity and live a life of reason and rationality too. Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserves a Nobel Prize for her efforts. I will not hold my breath that the Nobel Committee will give her one due to the fact that they have given people like Al Gore and Paul Krugman awards.
  25. Yes the movie is entertainment for those looking for a good .... er .... great movie to catch. To answer your question, yes the spinning top did wobble at the end.