athelind: (liberal)

Be Strong.
Be Brave.
Be Kind.

athelind: (Constitution)
Reposted from my Tumblr:

Nothing frustrates me more than people who talk about whether a presidential candidate would be a “strong leader”. People who want to be led are and always have been the single greatest danger to freedom.

The role of the President is not to lead the country.
The role of the President is to serve the country.

If you think the United States is “choosing a leader” tomorrow, you do not understand American democracy.

The last year and a half has been a job interview.

Who do you want to hire?

athelind: (Constitution)
Much has been said recently about Indiana’s SB101, the latest in a series of “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” metastasizing around the country. Most of the focus on SB101 has been characterizing it as an "anti-gay" or "anti-LGBT" bill, and, indeed, there's no secret that its primary impetus has spawned from numerous incidents where businesses have faced legal repercussions for refusing service to gay couples.

The text, of course, "cleverly" avoids any mention of sexual orientation.

I submit that this is not an "anti-gay" bill:
It is an anti-everyone bill.

Please understand: I wholly agree with the backlash against those who have smugly and snottily responded to the cry of "Black Lives Matter" with "All Lives Matter". That is an attempt to derail and deflect the outcry against the statistically-documented assault on the nation's black population. Of course "All Lives Matter"; it has never, in this country, been a matter of dispute that WHITE lives matter.

This is not that. This is not trying to derail the vital discussion of the frantic, desperate anti-LGBT flailings of the zealots who claim that the One who broke bread with prostitutes and publicans is really the Prince of Fear and Hate rather than Peace.

However, when I read the text of this bill, and really understood what it allowed, it was clear that this didn't just allow the prudish baker to refuse to make a wedding cake with two little grooms on top.

It allows any business - bakeries, restaurants, even hospitals - to deny service to any individual or group so long as they can claim that catering to them would be an undue burden on their "religious practices and beliefs". Mixed-race couples. Muslims. Atheists. Irish.

All I could think of were the words of Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

athelind: (cue howard)
Your Obedient Serpent has a coconut allergy. They don't normally do immunization shots for food allergies, but because coconut oil was so ubiquitous in the 1970s, they included that in my weekly cocktail of joy.0

It seems to have taken, since I don't seem to react to inadvertent doses of coconut in my cuisine; over the holidays, I had a big bowl of my sister's black eyed peas that (unknown to me) had been made with coconut milk, with no noticeable ill effects.1

On the other claw, it doesn't seem to have done a thing for my skin sensitivity, and as I've grown older, that's either started to increase, or I've become better at noting cause and effect.

The hell of it is that, near as I can tell, almost every brand of liquid soap and shampoo on the market contains at least one coconut derivative, and usually several. Cocamide? Cocamydopropyl? I can't believe it took me decades to twig that those were coconut derivatives. No wonder Head & Shoulders wouldn't touch my dandruff problem. I now use bar soap with carefully-vetted ingredients in both sink and shower, and a coal tar-based psoriasis shampoo that has nothing with the letters "coco-" chained together.

This winter, I found myself with another case of Badly Chapped And Cracking Skin on the backs of my hands. I'd assumed was due to cold, dry weather ... but as an experiment, I stopped using the Softsoap in the bathroom dispenser at work.2 Voila! My hands are happy.

Liquid soap is now pretty much off of my list. There are some that say "palm oil OR coconut oil", and Trader Joe's "Next To Godliness" gets cagey by listing "Natural and Plant-Derived Surfactants", but that's as close as it gets to "safe".

Yes, even that Doctor Whatsisname's Big Wall o' Text liquid soap that you can get at Whole Foods.

This isn't all about me, however.3 It's something I've noticed as a result of this:

Believe it or not, they don't label the ingredients of dish soap, the ubiquitous squeeze bottles of thick, brightly-colored goo that sits on every kitchen sink. Everyone uses it, even people with automatic dishwashers: those pots and pans won't wash themselves, after all.4

"Oh, but it's not for human consumption! It's not a cosmetic, or anything of that nature! We don't need to label things like that!"

I don't know about you, but it takes me longer to wash even one pan than it does to wash my own hands, or soap down in a shower. Generally, there's more than one pan -- and a if you don't have a dishwasher, you have to do all of your dishes by hand.
This means that a significant proportion of the population gets exposed to dish soap for substantially longer periods of time than someone using hand or body soap (unless you take a long, leisurely bath in a tub of soapy water).5

That's not even counting the people who wash dishes professionally at restaurants.

There's a better-than-even chance that I'll be moving into a place without a dishwasher when I finally get a place of my own. I guess it's time to invest heavily in rubber gloves. Nitrile, maybe.

Still ... what is everyone soaking their hands in these days? you may not have any allergies, but if something spends that much time on your hands, I think you should be able to find out what it is.

This is a big, nasty glitch in the regulatory system, and one that needs a-fixin'.

0For values of "joy" equal to "five years of weekly jabs in both arms with a mix of everything my system reacts badly to, from the ages of 11 to 16". And still, totally worth it.
1I was a little congested, but not unusually so, and given that my sister owns two big dogs ...
2I've compensated by making sure to wash my hands for no less than 45 seconds after every use. The friction and the action of the water contribute more than the soap, anyway.
3Although this is MY journal, and if you don't want to read about me, you're totally in the wrong place!
4I have an extensive body of empirical data supporting this hypothesis.
5Just keep the candles out of it, and nobody has to get hurt.
athelind: (Tiananmen Rebel)
Originally posted by [ profile] paka at More signal boosting for Internet Privacy.
Originally posted by [ profile] lupagreenwolf at More signal boosting for Internet Privacy.
Originally posted by [ profile] evieeros at More signal boosting for Internet Privacy.
Originally posted by [ profile] keladry_lupin at More signal boosting for Internet Privacy.
Originally posted by [ profile] why_me_why_not at More signal boosting for Internet Privacy.
Originally posted by [ profile] apiphile at More signal boosting for Internet Privacy.
Originally posted by [ profile] alizarin_nyc at More signal boosting for Internet Privacy.
Originally posted by [ profile] dameruth at It Never Ends...
Originally posted by [ profile] jjpor at It Never Ends...
Originally posted by [ profile] abbyromanaat Signal Boost
Originally posted by [ profile] clocketpatchat Signal Boost
Originally posted by [ profile] calliopes_penat CISPA is the new SOPA
Originally posted by [personal profile] spikedluv at CISPA is the new SOPA
Originally posted by [personal profile] velvetwhip at CISPA is the new SOPA

Here's their next move: The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, would obliterate any semblance of online privacy in the United States.

And CISPA would provide a victory for content owners who were shell-shocked by the unprecedented outpouring of activism in opposition to SOPA and Internet censorship.

The House of Representatives is planning to take up CISPA later this month. Click here to ask your lawmakers to oppose it.

SOPA was pushed as a remedy to the supposed economic threat of online piracy -- but economic fear-mongering didn't quite do the trick.

So those concerned about copyright are engaging in sleight of hand, appending their legislation to a bill that most Americans will assume is about keeping them safe from bad guys.

This so-called cyber security bill aims to prevent theft of "government information" and "intellectual property" and could let ISPs block your access to websites -- or the whole Internet.

Don't let them push this back-door SOPA. Click here to demand that your lawmakers oppose CISPA.

CISPA also encourages companies to share information about you with the government and other corporations.

That data could then be used for just about anything -- from prosecuting crimes to ad placements.

And perhaps worst of all, CISPA supercedes all other online privacy protections.

Please click here to urge your lawmakers to oppose CISPA when it comes up for a vote this month.

Thanks for fighting for the Internet.

-Demand Progress

athelind: (Constitution)

I will allow the possibility that corporations might be considered people as soon as I see one marched to the guillotine.

Parading its head on a pike is optional.
athelind: (tell it like it IS)
Okay, you know what?

I've Been Criminally Remiss.

I'm sorry. I had the "not afraid of pirates, afraid of creators" epiphany YEARS ago, and it's been in the back of my mind since the whole SOPA thing started up months ago.

And it's a meme that needs to be propagated. EVERYTHING I read, ESPECIALLY the opposition, keeps USING BIG MEDIA'S FRAMEWORK, and prefacing their opposition to SOPA and PIPA with "yes, online piracy is a problem, but this isn't the solution."

NO solution that Big Media pushes is going to be ANYTHING but an assault on small businesses and individual creators, because THAT IS THEIR PRIMARY GOAL. They WANT you to watch THEIR stuff. They CAN'T support you making your OWN stuff.

That IS and ALWAYS WILL BE their primary motivation.

So I need to make yesterday's post a Facebook entry, an FA entry, a DA entry ... maybe my frakkin' comics blog ... And, of course, write to my congressman and senator, and the congressmen and senators who AREN'T mine but are at the forefront of the fight against this crap, because THEY'RE using the same frame, too.



athelind: (fascism)
Yeah, everyone's doing it, but Some Anvils Need To Be Dropped.

You know, it's not about piracy or copyright. Those are lies. What Big Media is really afraid of, and what's really "threatening" their profits (which are, BTW, at a record high), is that the Internet makes it easy for creators to reach their audiences directly. I figured that out back in the Napster days, when Big Media emasculated, and nothing has changed since then.

I call this "The Temple of Syrinx Hypothesis": "We've taken care of everything, the words you read, the songs you sing, the pictures that you plug into your eyes ..."

And the biggest threat to them is that some random schlub will find a guitar.

That video I linked to a few weeks back, explaining how the big media companies themselves were the ones most responsible for distributing the tools of file-sharing and torrenting and making sure people knew how to use them to get Dubious Bits?

This is why.

I'm going to say it again:

They aren't afraid of "pirates".
They're afraid of creators.

athelind: (Eye in the Pyramid)
The biggest supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act are also the biggest distributors of torrent software, DRM removal software, and other "piracy" tools -- and their sites clearly show step-by-step how to access copyrighted material using these warez.

They've created the download culture and the "piracy problem" themselves, and are using it as a lever to take control of the internet and eviscerate its dangerous ability to enable populism om political, material and creative levels.

They have deliberately encouraged behavior that they are simultaneously trying to criminalize.

Yes, this is every bit as dangerous to your civil liberties as the NDAA's provisions to require the military to indefinitely detain anyone the government deems a terrorist, without council or due process ... especially when you consider the inflamed rhetoric that insists that "online piracy supports terrorism".

If the last three or four decades have taught us anything, it's that today's inflamed rhetoric is tomorrow's mainstream party platform.

athelind: (cue howard)
Last year, I posted an LJ entry that said that the defining moment for our generation wasn't when man set foot on the Moon, but when we turned away.

Most of my commentators, bless their literal souls, thought I was just talking about the space program, and at that stage in my recovery, I wasn't quite up to clarifying the symbolic and metaphorical dimensions of the statement.

I picked up a copy of Fight Club last week, and [ profile] thoughtsdriftby and I plugged it in on Friday night. This is the quintessential movie of my generation.

It comes closer than anything else to explaining exactly what I meant.

Preach it, Tyler:
I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables — slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

You are keeping tabs on the Occupy Wall Street protests, aren't you? If not, check out, and, as the Good Book said, consult your pineal gland.


EDIT: The first comment on the post has forced an addendum, hopefully early enough in the morning to catch most my Loyal Audience on their first read-through:

I really do appear to only be able to communicate half of what's going on in my brain at any one point.

I said Fight Club was "the quintessential movie of my generation". I didn't say "Tyler Durden is a Divine Prophet."

[ profile] notthebuddha was close -- Tyler's rant is HALF the truth. Pahulnik, in this speech, succinctly describes the malaise afflicting Generation X. We came into a world of progress and potential—we were literally promised the Moon—only to have it ripped away from us.

"Ah, never mind that. Here, have a crappy job and an apartment full of cheap furniture. Oh, wait. We're shipping the crappy jobs overseas. Why aren't you paying for your cheap furniture anymore?"

Fight Club is, in many ways, a cautionary tale. Sometimes, we all find ourselves in Tyler Durden's headspace, entertaining fantasies of just randomly beating the crap out of someone, or blackmailing your pissant boss, or taking your hands off the wheel as you ram the accelerator into the floorboards just to see what happens.

You can deny that and repress it and end up like the Narrator, or you can face it head on and channel it.

When you subtract the explosives, the beating the crap out of each other in basements, and the long-term goal of hunting moose in the vine-covered towers of the city, Tyler's idea of "zeroing out the credit system" sounds a hell of a lot more rational and productive than bailing out the banks for using fraud and doubletalk to rope thousands of people into mortgages they couldn't afford. The banks wound up with the houses and the money; if the bailouts had gone to the swamped homeowners themselves, the banks would have still gotten their money, and we'd still have an economy instead of a shattered, broken population.

At some point, you've got to take a stand. You've got to get angry.

You don't have to go mad and tear everything down. I brought Occupy Wall Street into the end of the post to say, "this is Project: Mayhem done right." It's not a riot. It's not terrorism. It's taking a stand. It's an ever-increasing circle of people gathering together and saying, "We've had enough. No more."

Take a look at the icon I used for this post. I know exactly how things ended for that guy, too. But sometimes, things reach a point where you've got to listen to all the Mad Prophets, all the Tyler Durdens and the Howard Beales, so you can see what drove them mad and make it stop.

You don't have to go mad to say you're not gonna take it anymore.


athelind: (veteran)
This was not our era's Pearl Harbor.

This was our era's Reichstag Fire.

After reading the responses, and being asked privately, "Does that mean you're a 'truther'?", I feel the need to restate this more clearly:

The events of 11 September 2011 more closely resemble the Reichstag Fire than Pearl Harbor, most significantly in our response to them as a nation.

Certainly, it is not a one-to-one congruence -- but the "Pearl Harbor" comparison is bandied about far more often, with few objections, and the correspondence is no more exact.

The sticking point for most respondents seems to be the identity of the perpetrators of the Fire. That's a niggling detail, irrelevant to the thesis. I find the nature of our national response to be a matter of far greater importance, because we, lashing out in terror for a decade, have done far more damage to ourselves, to our freedoms, and to the world than the people in those planes ever could have.

The Most Significant Point of Similarity is not whether or not it was an "inside job", but in the fact that it allowed the ugly strain of authoritarianism that had been seeping into into our national political culture for years to finally consolidate its power and win the hearts and minds of the public.

If you want more discussion of "the nature of our national response", feel free to consult Mr. Hicks for his opinion thereon.

athelind: (Default)

Survey says: Tea Party has Lower Approval Rating than Muslims and Atheists.

Can we stop pandering to them now?

Can we stop letting them drag our nation into the abyss in the name of "compromise" and "balance"?

Can we stop pretending that they're influential or even relevant to political discourse in the Untidy States?

They are not the change I voted for.

They are not the "American Values" my ancestors fought to forge and preserve.

athelind: (Captain America 01)

[ profile] forthright looks for some silver linings in the election results.

Everything I know about Canadian politics, I learned from LiveJournal; I confess I'm only grasping a fraction of what's going on up there.* I do know that I read (and am read) by a lot of people in the GWNE who don't read each OTHER, so one thing I CAN contribute is CONNECTION.

*Here's the fraction I do grasp, as well as I grasp it: new Lefty party caused a split in the votes, and some weird distortion of proportional Parliamentary procedure called "first past the post" has turned that into a Conservative majority. A "Canadian Politics For Unitistatians and Other Dummies" would be greatly appreciated.
athelind: (cronkite)
An addendum to my last post:

Perhaps it's just that I have trouble equating "shot in the head by a death squad" with "justice".

"Justice", to me, would have bin Laden facing war crime charges in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Of course, the U.S. refused to sign onto the ICC.

And "justice", to me, would have more than bin Laden before that court.

athelind: (Warning: Memetic Hazard)

From the Glossary of A Miracle of Science:

Science Related Memetic Disorder:
Science Related Memetic Disorder (SRMD) is a memetic disease which susceptible persons can both catch and transmit. SRMD appears to be a naturally-occurring memetic disorder which spreads via fringe science books and half-baked online rantings. A susceptible person - usually an engineer or scientist whose theories have been snubbed by his professional peers - who reads one of these rants can catch SRMD. Once a person has been infected with the SRMD meme complex, he or she will begin to constuct a scientific theory and will go to any length to prove it and to show everyone who disregarded his work that his theory is correct. Persons infected with SRMD, who are colloquially called "mad scientists," will often engage in illegal or hazardous actions to further their goals.

Signs that your loved one has an SRMD infection are: manic laughter, a desire to build a secret lab, hoarding of radioactive materials, sleep deprivation, building armies of oozing zombies in the bathroom, and dry mouth.

athelind: (Tiananmen Rebel)
One of the tags in my list is "The Revolution Will Be DIGITIZED". It's a play, of course, on the title of the song "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. I first used the phrase as the title of a PoliSci paper I wrote around '92 or '93, concerning the role of new communications technologies in the fall of the Soviet Union and the sociopolitical implications of the then-emerging internet.

I've used the tag for a variety of reasons since I introduced it a couple of years ago, some overtly political and some ... less than revolutionary. Yesterday's Writer's Block post was the first time I really felt that I was using it in the sense I originally intended, back when I first wrote that paper.

Yes. The Internet, the cell phone, GPS/GIS, desktop publishing and 3D printing ... this is world-changing technology. It has changed the world. If you're reading this, it has changed your everyday life, the things that you consider "normal" and "routine".

And it is poised to change it even more. It's facilitating real revolution, producing "regime change" more deep-seated than invasion, occupation, and installation of "reliable" puppets ever could.

Mightier than the sword indeed, my friends.

Cross-posted to [ profile] unitarian_jihad.
athelind: (cronkite)
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Should websites like Wikileaks be defended for sharing confidential corporate and government information with the public, and why?

Secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy ... censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything—you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.
—Robert A. Heinlein, If This Goes On— (Emphasis mine.)

Since the Internet first became available to the general public, I've heard people who defend the government prying into one's online activities on the basis that "if you're not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide."

These same people are the ones who argue, in turn, that Wikileaks is revealing things that should best be kept secret, that the internal workings of business and government are best left under lock and key "for our own good".

This is exactly backwards.

Yes, we should know these things. We must know these things. We are not disinterested parties. What the banks and megacorps do, they do to us, their customers, their employees. What the government does, it does in our name.

There are things that I would not have done in my name.

If those I have elected to serve the machinery of government seek to tell me that I am forbidden to know of them, I would name them tyrant, and would remind them with whose consent they govern.

Wikileaks is performing a function vital and necessary to democracy and to the governance of free human beings. The wealthy and powerful must be called to account, they must know that their actions run the risk of being brought to light.

Once upon a time, this function was called journalism, and it was practiced by such diverse outlets as the Washington Post that backed Woodward and Bernstein, and CBS News under the auspices of Walter Cronkite, who earned and deserved the title of "The Most Trusted Man in America". Investigative journalism is a thing of the past, though, smothered in favor of gossip and Official Press Releases by budget-slashing corporate masters who see no profit in baring secrets to the rank and file.

Wikileaks has picked up the fallen torch of the Fourth Estate, and shoved it square in the face of the banksters and the Shadow Cabinet. Do they "deserve" protection? By the laws of the United States of America, they have it. They are entitled to the same legal precedents that have protected journalists and their sources for most of the 20th century ... and if those protections do not extend into the One-and-Twenty, then we have abdicated any claims we might have had to freedom.

athelind: (facepalm)
As I was folding laundry just now, my brain, of its own accord, started composing a poem.

I thought it was going to be a thoughtful political piece, like Ginsberg, like Kerouac, starting with the lines "the terrorists have already won/We elected them in 2001."

But, no. It turned into a LIMERICK.

The terrorists have already won
We elected them in 2001
In 2004
We asked for some more
And look, they still aren't done!

So much for erudite political commentary. I can't even blame the DayQuil for this one.

athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
And so, another year ends, and Your Obedient Serpent will be more than happy to be shed of this one. I bid 2010 adieu with two upraised middle fingers and a shout of defiance.

It's time to face forward.

I've mentioned that sometimes, the radio talks to me, that the station I most often tune to has a tendency to play certain songs over and over again, and sometimes, the songs that cycle into that repetitious rotation are ones that directly address my moods and circumstances.

Back in November, as I was preparing to move a lifetime of belongings out of [ profile] quelonzia's garage, this one played nearly every day.

I was going to post it tomorrow, but it played again, just minutes ago.

This, then, is my New Year: No Resolutions, Just Resolve.

I've got a world and a life and a future in front of me.

And it's mine.

I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams ... )

Happy New Year, one and all!

I voted.

Nov. 2nd, 2010 10:38 am
athelind: (veteran)
Have you?

For the record, I did not vote straight-ticket Democrat.

There were some promising-looking Green Party candidates for several offices.

athelind: (cronkite)
Due to recent events, I haven't been as politically vocal in this forum as I once was. So It Goes.

We've got an election coming up in this country next week, though, and The Big Picture matters, especially with Big Media so happily wedded to Big Stupidity these days.

Let's lead off with Senator Al "won by 312 votes" Franken's reminder that every vote counts. Even yours. That's right, you. He also opines:

The month Barack Obama was sworn in we lost 750,000 jobs in this country. With all due respect to the President, I think his analogy that the economy was a car in a ditch when he took office is just a little too static. Here's my analogy, which, in my opinion, is both more kinetic and, frankly, far more accurate.

When the President took office, not only had the car gone into a ditch, the car had flipped over and was rolling down a steep embankment. We, the American people, were in the back seat, and the Bush Administration had removed all the seat belts, so we were all flying around the interior of this car as it was rolling and flipping and careening down this steep embankment, headed to a 2,000 foot cliff. And at the bottom of that cliff were jagged rocks. And alligators.

Now, at noon on January 20th, 2009, as the car was careening toward the cliff, George W. Bush jumped out of the car.

President Obama somehow managed to dive in through the window, take the wheel and get control of the thing just inches before it went over the precipice. Then, he and Congress starting pushing this wreck back up the embankment. Now you can't push a car up an embankment as fast as it careens down the embankment, especially if some people are trying to push against you. But we got it going in the right direction. And slowly we've gotten ourselves up the embankment, out of the ditch and onto the shoulder of the road.

[Italics mine ... and I confess I'm not quite as optimistic as Sen. Franken that we're quite "up the embankment" yet. Then again, I count things like "war without end" and "condoning torture" as part of the mud on the slippery slope.]

To expand the "every vote counts" theme into one of Solidarity, [ profile] velvetpage gives a concrete example from this week's Canadian elections:

Toronto: the vote on the left was split several ways, while the vote on the right was concentrated on one right-wing ideologue who got the ear of the suburbs by promising an end to corruption and a drastic reduction in social services that the suburbs use less anyway. Want to know how it is that a country where most people lean to the left of centre manages to keep electing these clowns? Here's how: there are so many good ideas and decent people on the left that people can't settle on just one, and with a first-past-the-post system, it means the right-wing guy with less than a majority often comes up from behind.

And with the preliminaries out of the way, some Quick Links:

Thanks to Mark Evanier, [ profile] velvetpage, and most especially [ profile] pseudomanitou for links and leads. Seriously, folks, [ profile] pseudomanitou's LJ is the best Progressive News Aggregator I've encountered. I have a lot of news feeds, but PM's news posts put all the best stuff in one place.
athelind: (prisoner)
From Slacktivist:

Taegan Goddard reports:

President Obama has relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his command over remarks made to Rolling Stone magazine.

Well, no, not really.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal lost his command because he had lost the map. Those remarks showed that he seemed to think he outranked the democratically elected civilian government it was his job to serve.

McChrystal's remarks, and even more so those of his staff, showed that he was openly contemptuous of not just the particular civilians of this particular government, but of the whole idea that generals should be accountable to such mere civilian representatives of mere civilian citizens.

He was openly contemptuous, in other words, of democracy.

And since a huge part of his job in Afghanistan involved nurturing and developing the habits and institutions of democracy, McChrystal's remarks showed that he wasn't up to that job. His remarks displayed a preference for the habits and institutions of a military Banana Republic.

A general does not outrank the vice president of the United States. A general does not outrank the vice president of the local Lions Club. A general does not outrank the vice principal of the local elementary school.

Generals who forget that tend to start giving orders to such civilians. And then they start enforcing them.

I really don't have much to add, though [ profile] thoughtsdriftby did note that such a summary dismissal of a registered Republican just gave the neocons a martyr—and a new pundit. "Look at how the Administration suppresses and punishes opposing viewpoints!"

athelind: (facepalm)
For the record, Measure J passed with 60% of the vote.

I think "monorail!" (with exclamation point) is now part of Athelind's Argot.

November 2016

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