The purpose of AI

About a year ago when we talked about artificial intelligence and machine learning, what we meant was a machine getting used to some routines or somehow understanding an algorithm and order of matters happening so it can respond in a certain way. That may sound complicated but in comparison to what we are experience right now, it’s quite simple.

What we have right now is marvelous and very much advanced. Of course it will improve day to day and maybe another year from now what we currently have may seem even stupid but we got to compare it to what we had before to see how much progress we made.

However, the real purpose of AI and the path we’re going is not exactly what I believe we had in mind when we first started working on it. We built artificial intelligence to make our lives easier so we can be able to focus on what truly matters to us as human race. I believe when we started the machines and when we first started to replace part of the labor and work with automatons what we had in mind was to finally replace humans with machines not in what we enjoyed doing but in what we believed is exploiting our essence.

Today, with all the improved codes and computers running AI, we are forgetting what we had in mind when we first started. We are now experimenting with artificial intelligence that writes essays and articles for us. We are experimenting to hand over what we were pleased to do to a robot. Writing an article had a purpose of sharing ideas and teaching people of a point of view. Now we are training robots to prove points for us, like if we’re in a war.

We are not all internet trolls who are fighting and trying to win an argument at all costs. We are people of reason and intellectual who have good will and intentions in our souls and bodies, so we don’t need a robot to write an article on our behalf and prove, in any way, that our point is valid. What is the point of that article if it prevents us from thinking?

We are now experimenting robots and so-called intelligence that is creating art for us. Art used to be an escape for us humans. It was a form of creation that made us feel needed, made us feel empowered, it gives us a way to invent a new reality for ourselves in which everything’s placed according our will and ideas. And the satisfaction was not from the result or what others would see, it was from the work we put in it and every detail that we thought about and cared deeply with passion to create a thing with our bare hands.

Now there’s a robot that will learn from what others have created and you just tell it to create a portrait of unicorn with purple scary eyes and it will give it to you in few seconds. Where is the fun? Where is the satisfaction? Who is the real artist here? Is it you? Is it the robot? Is it the creator of the robot? Or is it the actual creators of portraits that the machine learnt from them?

Machines supposed to write our emails and clean our houses and run our factories and bring us food so we can focus on art and philosophy and everything else we enjoyed. We are going to the wrong end on the wrong road. We weren’t supposed to create machines that mass produce art so we can focus on labor, it was quite opposite.

I believe it is wrong and it should be prohibited. We all have seen movies like Matrix that machines finally enslave the human race and forced us to do the labor but what we’re doing now is to do it voluntarily. We were frightened that machines some day can think for themselves and purge us all or force us to give up on what we truly loved and now we are happily training them to do what we love and replace us where we love to be and force us to where we always hated.

This article could be produced with an AI. I just needed to write a question that “how modern AI will act like Matrix and replace us from creators of art and put us to labor instead?” and it would most probably write the same arguments. It’s nice because then I could argue that even the machines know it but happily machines don’t think.

They don’t think so they should not be put in a position to decide for an important matter. Happily, we’re not there yet but we have started to put them in an important place to think instead of us and replace us in where I consider one of the most important aspects of humanity which is art.

Instead of developing intelligence to create art, we should use this intelligence to better our farming and food producing and solve human crises like hunger, education reform, environmental issues, and freedom-related matters.

I believe that is the true purpose of AI and that is what we need to do.

Aim for freedom tech

While people are still publishing their end-of-the-year lists and new year resolutions, and while people are still debating about whether social networks should provide a safe space or a complete free speech environment, many people around the world are struggling to connect to internet.

The situation in Iran is terrible. Internet is heavily censored and people are facing shutdowns on a daily basis. Almost all popular messengers, including WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal are blocked and there are reports of instances of federated messengers, such as XMPP and Matrix, being blocked as well.

Almost all popular social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many instances of Mastodon are blocked and people can’t use them freely. Even if they can use them, their posts may be used as evidence of criminal activity, labeled as “action against national security” or “combat against god” or even “insulting the supreme leader.”

The free VPNs and anti-censorship tools are blocked as well, ironically. No popular VPN is working as intended and people rely on paid domestic VPN providers which on many cases are very dangerous. They either give away users’ data to authorities or are designed as spyware. This leaves people vulnerable to a lot of harm simply for trying to connect to free internet and get free flow of information.

The goal of every developer focused (or even not focused) on human rights should be providing and developing tech that can help people access free internet and information. Anti-censorship tools and new tech that can send and receive data.

One example of this effort is the awesome project of Toosheh. They are a satellite filecasting technology deployed in Iran and the Middle East that use common satellite equipment to deliver digital content without relying on access to the Internet. I have no idea how many people receive information and needed stuff from this project but this is a very useful and helping project.

In recent days, I’ve heard WhatsApp is deploying a feature that lets people connect to the messenger using proxies. This probably is the same effort done by Telegram and Signal. Many people in Iran are using MTProto proxies to be able to connect to Telegram and communicate with each other. Telegram is the second (if not first) most used messenger in Iran. Similar proxy feature was added to Signal but I doubt that many people use it. WhatsApp providing proxies will be very much appreciated by the public as many people rely on WhatsApp to communicate with each other.

As much as I advocate for free (libre) technology and software, in this situation, connecting people is far more important to not only me but everybody who is concerned with the situation we are facing in the country.

If you’re a software/hardware person or a techie, you surely can help developing tools to help people not only in Iran, but every other place or people needing tools to access basic available daily stuff such as a social network or a communication tool or even reading an article and getting information. You can contact your friends discussing the needs and required tools to get started. The simplest act can be running Snowflake extensions and help people connecting to free internet using Tor.

As I said, this is not just a matter of Iran. There are many reports of internet shutdowns or heavy censorship in India, China, countries of Middle East, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, and many others. So, please, if you can do something about it, many people will appreciate your efforts.

You are worthy

Watching Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, I know all those saviors needed one thing to become a hero and that was being worthy of helping people and selflessness. What made those people recognized as heroes is that they put aside their differences and accepted their weaknesses yet became whole as a team, became strong, and defeated most impossible enemies.

I love Marvel movies because they make me feel hopeful. They teach us something that maybe other movies can’t even mention and that’s how a simplest act can make an impact complex and big enough to save the entire world.

Most of the times I hear people worrying about not being enough to do something or not being worthy of acting in defense of people, I just remember how some normal human beings with just one or two special talents could save the world in our favorite movies.

It’s true that those are just movies but the lesson we learn from those movies are real. I believe millions of people fighting against a common enemy are far more stronger than a team of 10 people with robots or magic.

These fighters for freedom are worthy. Worthy of lifting Thor’s hammer, worthy of becoming an Avenger, and worthy of becoming the leaders of war for freedom.

I remember someone telling me a wonderful story about our true value: a while back someone gave a watch to me. He handed me a wristwatch. I opened the box and it was a beautiful watch. It wasn’t super fancy but it was attractive. I brought it to home and put it in my desk drawer.

Couple of months later I opened the drawer to take something out and I saw the watch sitting there. I looked at it again and I thought it costs a few hundred bucks but for some reason I did a web search for its price and when I did I nearly passed out. The exact watch came out, it was worth over 10 thousand dollars.

It was from a very famous prestigious watchmaker. I’ve seen a lot of other watches that cost several hundred dollars but because of the manufacturer this watch was extremely valuable. You could put it side by side of other watches and you wouldn’t see much difference. Looked average, ordinary, copied. On the surface it looked the same.

But what gave it its value was who made it. Sometimes we don’t realize who we are because we see other people just like us. We may look average, ordinary, like nothing stands out but there’s something about us that makes us extremely valuable.

We’re not a copy, or a knockoff, we are original. We can’t get any more prestigious than what we are now. Nothing is more valuable than what we are.

Never think of yourself as worthless or incapable. You are capable of holding an entire chain together and doing the impossible. Simplest act from you can affect the whole system, the whole universe, and result in doing the absolute impossible.

You are not a single person, you are what the chain needs to remain intact. You, alone, can’t do anything but you are what the chain needs to remain intact. You may be the first part of the chain or the last one, either way, you are doing greatest work you can.

Never think of yourself as worthless or not valued. Never think that you are alone or you can’t do anything because you feel lonely in your situation. Think about how you inspire others or how you can start something amazing enough to change everything.

Obeying the law

You would have to agree with me that all people should obey just laws but I would also say that unjust law is no law at all. And when we find an unjust law, I think we have a moral obligation to take a stand against it.

I do feel there are two types of laws: one is a just law and one is an unjust law. We all have moral obligations to disobey unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much as moral obligation as is cooperation with good.

Any man who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail in order to arouse the conscience of the community on the injustice of the law is in that moment expressing the very highest respect for law.

Laws have been made for us to have a better life, and to provide a good condition for living in communities. At least it is the purpose that we have been told the laws have. However, laws were supposed to trigger the moral obligation of humans toward each other in societies to do good and avoid evil.

Since we made laws zero and one, it is doing more damage than good to the soul and spirit of the original purpose and idea of having laws. Since the creation of classes and since one class made to rule and control other classes, laws have changed to protect the benefits of the master class against other people.

The first two paragraphs of this writing came from speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. when he was fighting against the tyranny of segregation. Many laws, such as slavery, or forced way of clothing, or forced way of eating or drinking (like the prohibition), were unjust and people fought against them for a better living.

It is, now, obvious to us that those laws were unjust and we praise those who risked their life to change those laws. However, at the time those laws were in place, people were told to obey the law no matter what. If everyone were obeying those unjust laws, there would have been no change and no advancement of our condition and living situation.

The laws were made for us to do good and to avoid evil and for us to be able to punish those who do evil in order to have more pure and safe communities. Since we forgot the purpose of the creation of the law, we have been forced to obey bunch of papers written by a higher class with the purpose of control.

The controlling class is now fighting against the very people who respected these laws for a long time and wishes to break them into a new form of slavery. A form of slavery that people are not forced to do what the master class wants by whips but by manipulating them to believe what they do is morally correct and they are obligated to do them for the good of themselves.

The freedom of the minds of people will result in riots and revolutions against these tyrants and modern slave-owners.

My brothers and sisters, we are living in a new slavery and we are bound by unjust laws to obey these lords and masters, but we are morally obligated to disobey the unjust laws forced on us and we are morally and humanly obligated to fight against these masters for the sake of ourselves and the good of people and for a better future.

That is how we respect the law most. That is how we are supposed to treat laws.

Who is NIAC?

While the Iranian people are fighting for regime change, Iran regime lobby in United States, NIAC, is busy trying to reclaim the narrative and making it one of reform, and not regime change.

But the Iranian people aren’t calling for reform, they’re calling for regime change. NIAC isn’t just a group which advocates for US-Iran relations, they are an active body of the Islamic regime.

Now their activists are trying to twist the protests into an issue of forced hijab, or of economic stressors; anything to avoid admitting reality, that people are saying no to the Islamic regime.

Their main talking point is that the left should make an Iran-deal and lift sanctions, as if that’s what causing the protests. NIAC founder, Trita Parsi, and NIAC activists such as Negar Mortazavi and Ellie Geranmayeh of the European Council of Foreign Relations, as well as Hoda Katebi, a hijabi fashion influencer, have all called for sanction relief.

Sanctions have made life harder for Iranians but if sanctions are removed with Islamic regime still in power, none of that money will go to the Iranian people, as we saw during the time Hasan Rouhani took presidency.

It will end up in Syria, Yemen, or Lebanon’s Hezbollah, in hands of terrorists, or maybe in pockets of regime leaders. That is the real reason that NIAC and its activists are lobbying for sanction relief so aggressively.

NIAC (or better called regime reformist wing) want to preserve the Islamic regime at any cost, but the regime cannot be reformed.

The problem is not economics or forced hijab (which the regime caused itself at the first place), it’s lack of free speech, free expression, free press, no due process, torture, corruption, funding of global terror, gender apartheid, and many more issues.

That’s why rich, poor, young, old, men, and women are all protesting in the streets of Iran with one common goal: an end to the Islamic regime. To minimize the protests to hijab or economics is a slap in the face to those who already given their lives in this fight.

Few days ago a consultant to NIAC, Reza Aslan, resigned due to the lack of trust for NIAC in the eyes of Iranian people worldwide. That’s how terrible they have been. They have been known for hurting people inside and outside of the country.

NIAC cannot he trusted.

Occupied

It’s been a month since nationwide protests in Iran started and it seems people are not willing to stop shouting their pains. People are hopeful that this time they can change something, even if not big enough.

People are hopeful, and this is dangerous. Hope is the general source for motivation. Hope can move you forward to the point that you actually affect your environment and change.

Since the start of the protests, many people have joined this movement, including Mehdi Mahdavikia, Ali Karimi, and Ali Daei. These are former football players for Hamburger SV and Bayern Munich football clubs. Some of the greatest ever football players in Iran.

In a country that you can lose everything for practicing your free speech rights, these people speaking publicly against the system is a brave action. They are now under the risk of losing their wealth and their public image in state-controlled economy and media. I admire them for that bravery.

Ali Daei, in an Instagram post, said that “in the current situation, silence is treason” and I agree with him. People have suffered enough from inconveniences and injustices imposed on them by the regime.

Everything is blamed on foreign governments and spies. The regime takes no responsibility on anything. Even with videos showing police officers shooting people, the system doesn’t even recognize its own brutality and claims the shooters are foreign officers in police uniform doing this to spread mistrust in security forces.

I am also tired. I was once a supporter of this regime, under the influence of state media and all the brainwashings done to me by strictly-controlled books and news published by this very government. I regret the time I spent supporting this regime.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if Iraq had won the eight-year war against Iran. Sometimes people ask me about what will we replace this regime with. I always think about it. What will we lose?

The next government, the next regime, can’t be any worse. What will they do? Shut down the internet? Ban free speech? Shoot people? Economic disaster? No emotional, economical, and humane safety? Giving up the independence and freedom of the country? All has happened to us before in this very regime. It feels we are actually occupied by a foreign brutal force.

People live in constant fear of getting arrested and imprisoned for their slightest criticism. I live in fear of getting arrested every time I write or speak critically against this regime, yet the system lies to us, looking in our eyes, that we have freedom.

Supporters of the regime, some living in foreign countries, control what gets published in foreign media. Specially those in NIAC, National Iranian American Council, are constantly spreading the regime’s propaganda. This makes people more helpless, and more angry.

People feel betrayed. Their fathers, brothers and sisters once started a revolution to make things better. They now feel betrayed and lied to by the very people they had hope in. They see the duality of system’s speeches and actions and hear the lies they’ve been told to.

An example is hijab. Hijab is mandatory in Iran but children of some government people and ayatollahs live with freedom of choosing their clothes and way of living in other countries, or privately inside the borders. While the morality police arrests our sisters, they wear bikinis and lie under sun and get tanned in European countries.

People ask, why these people don’t force their own children to wear hijab? Of course their children are responsible for their own actions, but if their children are mature and responsible enough to choose, why they think they can force us to do what they say? Are we different? Are we not humans?

We’re not sheeples, but we’re treated as such. We’re told to use what the regime wants, avoid what regime doesn’t like, speak and act as the system desires, and go where they need us to be. They see themselves as our shepherd and us as brainless sheeples who need protection.

I am disgusted by all of these and just like our football legend, Ali Daei, I think silence is treason.

Yet again, people are hopeful. People are motivated and braver than ever, determined to change the situation. They are moving forward with hope to achieve something greater for people. Hope is beautifully dangerous for the current situation. It can change everything.

Everybody is a genius

Everybody is a genius in their own way but it’s the injustices imposed on people that make it look different.

Let’s create an imaginary jungle. We have a lot of different animals in the jungle. We have monkeys, we have tigers, elephants, lions, fishes, penguins, etc.

All those animals have unique abilities and all of them are genius in their own way. The problem is that we want to enforce equality in a wrong way. If we measure the genius of animals but asking for one exam, say climbing a tree, then we’re giving advantage to monkeys and imposing injustice on fishes.

The fish can’t breathe in the air. The tiger may be able to climb a tree but not as good as the monkey. The elephants are dumbest in this measure because they can breathe in the air but can’t even jump.

This injustice makes them unequal.

I believe the only way we can have equality is to treat everybody with justice. All animals are equal in the way we treat them and that is with justice. If we measure how genius is a fish by its ability to swim, and measure how genius is a monkey by its ability to climb a tree, and measure tigers by their ability to run, then we can have a jungle of genius animals with everyone in their designated role and responsibility.

Our societies are very much like jungles. We measure everybody with the same test and we get the same results for it every time. People have their differences and these differences doesn’t make them dumb or incapable, but makes them unique and special in various matters. The situation people grow in has a lot of impact on them and the way they behave is very much affected from it.

When we constantly do a wrong test on wrong people, they will live a life believing they’re stupid. We know people have different set of skills and we know they behave differently in a same situation. Yet, instead of taking advantage of their skills to get the best complex of results, we try to force them behave and react as we desire. This will fail.

A lot of genius people have been wasted. Many artists are victim of not having a chance to glow and dying without ever finding out their true potential. Many athletes were placed in wrong positions and were eventually ruined. Many engineers failed to do what they truly capable of because of wrong tests and measurements imposed on them in schools or colleges.

Diversity is beautiful. It’s empowering. It gives societies ability to benefit from different and unique set of skills different people have. However, you can’t benefit from these skills and abilities if you try to make everyone and everything look the same. It ruins everything and turns into a disaster.

Iran is a beautiful example of diversity working well. We have Fars people, Turks, Lurs, Kurds, and Arabs living together with no problem. Every one of those people have unique culture, unique physique, unique set of moral values, and unique environment which makes them capable of accomplishing unique tasks. The result of integrating those people had made an amazing society of which everyone is benefited and satisfied.

People benefit from what they can’t have themselves on their own and are satisfied by tasks accomplished by ones who have capabilities. It’s because we expected and understood what those unique cultures and people have and integrated them into a working society. We don’t change them, we don’t colonize them, we don’t divide them, we integrate them into our diverse and capable society. It has been working for more than 3,000 years and it’s still working.

Today, there are protests in the country started by death of a Kurd girl, Mahsa Amini, who was reportedly killed by morality police. Fars people, Lurs, Turks, Arabs, Baluchs, and everybody else are protesting among their Kurd brothers and sisters in solidarity. They see themselves as one nation, one people, and one society not with differences, but with unique characteristics. All fighting for liberty, and that is beautiful.

Is freedom more important than safety?

Every freedom we surrender is a freedom our children will never know existed. History shows humans are willing to die to gain freedom. For thousands of years, as much as we know about myths and legends of wars, people were willing to fight to death to gain freedom and liberty. Either they liberated themselves from external forces or local dictators, people who fought were seen as heroes and those who surrendered were seen as cowards and unworthy.

Is freedom more important than safety? I believe it doesn’t even depend on what you call safety. I know dictators that will protect their citizens from anything, but no person feels safe. Living in fear of losing everything with a simple mistake is more unsafe situation than fear of losing your life to an army of invaders.

Today, we see Ukrainians fighting against Russian invaders. They are willing to die but not lose their liberty. People in Iran are protesting against violations of their liberty and personal and societal freedoms. Many are killed by the cops. There are thousands of marches and protests in United States every year against tyrannical laws and rules and I’ve seen people arrested, tear gassed, and getting shot for that.

For human beings, life without freedom is not worth living. Safety has become a keyword for tyrants to violate our liberties. By safety, the dictator means “keep being alive” and that’s wrong. Safety has a lot of meanings and is multi-dimensional.

Economical safety, emotional safety, health and environmental safety, humanitarian and freedom safety, and protection against anything that can take these away are kinds of safety a human being needs, and without any of them, you’re not safe.

A right is a right when you have it, if anything can take it away, it’s just a privilege and an illusion. Safety is a keyword for that illusion to make you emotionally prepared to lose your rights. And when you lose any of your rights, any, you’re no longer free.

I am a fan of free software. A software is free when it gives the user the four essential freedoms. The four freedoms are 1) freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose; 2) freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish; 3) freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others; and 4) freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others.

A program is free when it gives you all these freedoms. Even if you lose one of these freedoms, the program is considered proprietary. A proprietary software violates users’ rights. It gives privileges to some people but violates others. That’s wrong.

Now I know many (if not most) free programs are gratis (meaning free of cost) but sometimes having these freedoms costs you money. Sometimes it costs you effort and work, and sometimes it costs you giving up something else, such as comfort of using a nice interface or smooth progress of work on a proprietary program. I am willing to give up that comfort and pay money to have my essential four freedoms. I know a community of very nice and hard-working people who think the same as me on this.

I believe free programs are much more safe than proprietary ones. When a program is free, and lets you express and practice freedoms, it gives you ability to change it so it works and behaves as you wish. If it has security vulnerabilities, you can fix them yourself or hire someone to do it for you. If there’s a backdoor or a violation of privacy, you can close that door and stop the violation. If there’s a behavior you don’t like, you can change it.

You may not want to change anything but the freedoms are still there to assure you one important matter: it’s you who is in control.

A proprietary program doesn’t let you practice your freedoms, therefore you’re reliant on the developer, the master, to grant you what you need.

I believe this effort, to have software freedom, is much similar to life. In life we sometimes need to give up on some comfort to gain freedom and that freedom eventually leads us to a safe society with individual liberties that collectively will create a safe society where there’s comfort and safety.

I believe safety is a result of freedom. Safety without freedom is an illusion, is a violation of whatever humans stood for, for thousands of years. It’s freedom and personal liberties that brings us safety, not vice versa.

Nobody survives with oppression

It has been more than ten days since my people in Iran have started protesting against injustices they are suffering from, triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young girl reportedly killed by morality police.

The government has shut down the internet again and killed almost all messengers and communication services people used and access to any server located outside the country is very much restricted. This has been a common way for the regime to oppress protesters.

A lot of people, including many athletes and artists, have shown support for the people’s fight and condemned the way the regimes handles this situation. The oppression of opposite voices and all the injustices happening made people rise to streets. I even saw some people in national television condemning the way the regime handles the situation. It is known that those who speak in the television are carefully selected to move the government’s propaganda forward.

I can’t stay silent. People are tired and angry about everything they have been through. Every injustice they have been subjected to and every time they have been oppressed because of the the way they think or behave have made them angry. The economic situation is bad, the level of corruption inside the government is very high, the limitations in their life, mostly imposed by outer elements, are felt a lot, and they are hurt that there’s almost nothing they can do about it.

People are hurt that nobody is there to rescue them from all the pain they’re experiencing and all the lies they have been hearing all these times. They can’t tolerate this anymore.

Forty years ago when our fathers started a revolution, they thought they can finally get rid of monarchy and earn liberty. Now people feel they just replaced the old monarchy and corrupt system with another one. People are hopeless but more importantly fearless because they believe they have nothing to lose.

For the past ten days, I have seen many people quote prophet Muhammad that “the country survives with blasphemy but won’t survive with oppression” and believe me people feel very oppressed. It doesn’t matter how the regime explains to them why they’re wrong or how it’s different from what they feel, what people are experiencing and feeling is different.

People no longer accept what clergymen say. They have lost their trust in them. They feel lied to and betrayed. All the trust they had in the system is being torn apart by every single mistake and mishandled situation. The system is damaging itself, it’s exploding from inside, and its shrapnel is hurting people, making them more angry. It’s not their fault but they have been the blame for a long time.

Nothing is more dangerous than hopeless, tired, and angry people, except for fearless people. And my people have become fearless because they have nothing to lose anymore. My people have become the most dangerous now. I feel the same, and I stand with my dangerous people. You should too.

There’s no middle!

Debates are often viewed as two opposing sides finding some common ground in the middle.

However, this framework presumes that both viewpoints are valid and equal when in reality not all viewpoints are, or should be, considered as such.

And sometimes when you concede ground to meet in the middle, you still end up losing. And losing is the correct word. In political debates when you don’t achieve what you’re fighting for, which should be people’s benefits and rights, you’ve lost your fight.

The middle between civil rights and genocide, which means both sides have given up some grounds, is murder. No matter what you achieve, you’re responsible for the murder.

People may have some in common with their political opponent but it’s exactly the differences that matter. Common ground of believing in women rights’ to vote means nothing if one side of the debate is Hitler.

I’m sure we have all some stuff in common with Hitler. Charlie Chaplin had a mustache in common. Animal lovers and pet owners have something in common with him. Hitler even did some good stuff when he was in power.

Hitler instituted anti-animal cruelty laws. He was a well known animal lover, and was accompanied frequently by his pet dog, Blondi, which he killed near the end of the war to test a cyanide capsul to see if it would work if he ever needed to commit suicide.

Hitler instituted laws to prevent smoking in public. He abhorred smoking, and as Führer made laws that made smoking in public illegal in many places.

Hitler helped to start the automotive company Volkswagen. He was a primary endorser of the Volkswagen Beetle, a “people’s car” intended to be affordable for all Germans.

Hitler started the first major construction of the Autobahn, plans for which were divised and badly started by the Weimar Republic. The Autobahn is a prominent highway in Germany today.

Hell he even started the tradition of Olympic runners carrying the torch to the Olympic stadium and lighting the Olympic torch. While people forget the origins of this tradition, Hitler started it as a marketing tool for Germany.

But the fact that he killed millions of people, did war crimes, and committed genocide prevents us from making him an ideal in out political positions. Hitler will always be remembered as a monster he was, no matter how many animals he saved or how many poor people he rescued.

When we talk about political debates, it’s not the wins we care about, because the wins were our basic rights, but it’s the losses that matter, because those are rights we lost.

You either have your abortion rights or you don’t, there’s no middle. Part of your rights is not enough. You either have all of or you have nothing. You either have your freedom or you don’t, there’s nothing in the middle.

Don’t get tricked by those who urge you to sacrifice your rights to accomplish something. It’s a trap to lessen your freedom, trick you to accept less, and finally abolish your freedom completely.

You remember the campaign Jon Stewart promoted years ago? It was “The Rally to Restore Sanity” which was all about people being more moderate. The message of the rally was that if the media stopped giving voices to crazy people on both sides, maybe we could restore sanity.

It was an urged non-partisan cooperation between moderates on both sides. What they forgot was that Obama tried that and found out there are no moderates on the other side.

Jon Stewart believed that the national convention is dominated by right-wingers who believe Obama is a socialist and people on the supposed left (Democrats) who believe that 9/11 was an inside job.

But there weren’t any Democratic leaders who said 9/11 was an inside job but Republicans who think Obama was a socialist? All of them.

It was official Republican policy to claim Obama is a dangerous socialist. Like tax cuts pay for themselves and gay men just haven’t met the right women.

As another example of both sides using overheating rhetoric Stewart cited the right acquainting Obama with Hitler and the left calling Bush a war criminal. Except for thinking Obama is like Hitler is utterly unfounded but calling Bush a war criminal is the opinion of General Antonio Taguba who headed the Army’s investigation to Abu Gharib.

Republicans keep staking out a position that is further and further right and demand the Democrats meet them in the middle, which is now not the middle anymore.

That is why healthcare reform is so watered down. It’s Bob Dole’s plan from 1994. Same thing for cap and trade, it was the first President Bush’s plan to deal with carbon emissions. Now the Republican plan for climate change is to claim it’s a hoax.

Two opposing sides doesn’t necessarily have two compelling arguments. Martin Luther King spoke at that mall in the capital and he didn’t say those southern sheriffs with the fire hoses and the German Shepherds have a point too. He said “I have a dream”, they have a nightmare.

This isn’t Team Edward and Team Jacob. Liberals and Progressives must stand up and be counted and not pretend that we’re greedy or mean or shortsighted as they are and if that’s too polarizing for you and you still want to reach across the aisle and hold hands with someone on the right, try staying there, because they suit you more.