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: (eco-rant)
Okay, one reason, and one alone:

The United States of America consumes a disproportionate amount of the world's resources, and produces a disproportionate amount of its pollution. Even a massive socio-economic catastrophe isn't going to do more than moderate that, at least over the next half-century or so. this is an issue that I can't run away from, because the ripples affect the entire world, and not just economically.

I am an Earth Systems Scientist.

If I have any hope of having an effect on this globe-threatening situation, it's gotta be here.

I've got my lever, rusty as it may be, and I think I'm narrowing down my places to stand.


athelind: (politics)
This was originally tacked on as a footnote to my last post, but I think it needs to stand on its own.

For the record, the "Divided States of America" is only a "worst-case scenario" if the Balkanization is violent. That's not unlikely, because we're all pretty pissed at each other right now, and we do like our guns.

On the other claw, the Soviet Union managed to spin off its component without devolving into all-out war, though, even if there were border skirmishes; if the U.S. pulled off the same trick, California might wind up better off than we are now, with the Federal Government funneling money out of the eighth-largest economy in the world and into Red States who rant against taxation, welfare and government interference.


athelind: (prisoner)
Mostly for my own reference: some thoughtful and measured words about emigration.

I'll tell ya: ever since reading Toffler's predictions for the future of the two "Second Wave" superpowers in 1990's Powershift, and watching it come true in the Soviet Union less than a year later, there's a part of me that's been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Yes, I'm fully aware that this kind of apocalyptic paranoia has contributed to the paralyzing stasis of my life since graduation.

Still, there's an important truth in play: things aren't getting any better in the Untidy States, and the best-case scenario is to hope that the continual erosion of our rights and freedoms will be sufficiently gradual that we won't notice.

And the alternatives ... well, we seem to be using all the worst clichés of Cyberpunk as a road map as it is, why not that one, too?*

I would really like to convince myself that this is just pessimism due to the latest economic downturn, but even during the boom years of the '90s, I saw the "New Democrats" quietly and casually continuing the trends of restricting the rights of biological individuals and increasing the freedoms of "corporate persons". Some oppressed groups have made a few advances in acceptance, but really, it's just welcoming them to the same Village that the rest of us live in. One step forward, two steps back.

I'm in the process of reevaluating my life, realigning my goals, and trying to get a better grip on how the "real world" works.

And around here ... it doesn't. Not very well. Not in ways that will do me any good, now or in the future.

Realistically, if I'm trying to reconstruct my present to make plans for my future, "emigration" needs to be one of my options—even and especially if I land the elusive "Real Job" locally.

The big issue, of course, is that the other Anglophone nations don't really want more USian expatriates.


This is not a post about pessimism or defeatism. This is a post about options.
*See next post.

athelind: (fascism)
Via boingboing:

Bacon may not make everything better, but cookies do:

FBI Interrogator Reports That Cookies Work Better Than Torture.



This is Pure Undiluted Coyote In Action: the reprehensible deeds of the arrogant and powerful are countered by something that is, at first glance, absurd.

Part of me wants to make a funny, light-hearted post about the wonders of baked goods, full of references to Eddie Izzard and '80s cartoons about Being Nice and '70s superheroes defeating the villains with Hostess Fruit Pies.

Part of me wants to go on a self-righteous tear about how the vile nature of torture is compounded by its ineffectiveness.

Look at the icon: which part do you think won this one?

It's particularly ironic because those who try to defend "enhanced interrogation" love to accuse their opponents of "coddling" terrorist suspect. "Maybe we should just serve them tea and cookies, instead! That's sure to get them to talk!"

Guess what? It does, assholes.

Treating people as people, as human beings, goes a long way toward getting them to see you as human in turn.

Those who defend and support torture don't give a damn about facts or evidence. They don't care about getting useful or accurate information out of these prisoners. They don't even care about the "ticking time bomb" scenario gleaned from their careful, in-depth research into Kiefer Sutherland.

They just want to hurt people, or have people hurt in their name. They just want to cause pain. They don't care about terrorism or any of the rest of it; 9/11 just gave them a justification to do what they've always wanted to do, to indulge their vicious cruelty, and to assert loudly and contemptuously that any other approach is naive and weak.

It is indefensible that I live in a nation that can even debate this issue.

Not when the alternative is cookies.

athelind: (Default)
Via boingboing:

Bacon may not make everything better, but cookies do:

FBI Interrogator Reports That Cookies Work Better Than Torture.



This is Pure Undiluted Coyote In Action: the reprehensible deeds of the arrogant and powerful are countered by something that is, at first glance, absurd.

Part of me wants to make a funny, light-hearted post about the wonders of baked goods, full of references to Eddie Izzard and '80s cartoons about Being Nice and '70s superheroes defeating the villains with Hostess Fruit Pies.

Part of me wants to go on a self-righteous tear about how the vile nature of torture is compounded by its ineffectiveness.

Look at the icon: which part do you think won this one?

It's particularly ironic because those who try to defend "enhanced interrogation" love to accuse their opponents of "coddling" terrorist suspect. "Maybe we should just serve them tea and cookies, instead! That's sure to get them to talk!"

Guess what? It does, assholes.

Treating people as people, as human beings, goes a long way toward getting them to see you as human in turn.

Those who defend and support torture don't give a damn about facts or evidence. They don't care about getting useful or accurate information out of these prisoners. They don't even care about the "ticking time bomb" scenario gleaned from their careful, in-depth research into Kiefer Sutherland.

They just want to hurt people, or have people hurt in their name. They just want to cause pain. They don't care about terrorism or any of the rest of it; 9/11 just gave them a justification to do what they've always wanted to do, to indulge their vicious cruelty, and to assert loudly and contemptuously that any other approach is naive and weak.

It is indefensible that I live in a nation that can even debate this issue.

Not when the alternative is cookies.

athelind: (outrage)
I've been trying to compose a response to this story all day: a Ramadan prayer service in Dayton, Ohio was interrupted on Friday when local thugs sprayed a chemical irritant into the mosque, specifically targeting the room where children and infant were being cared for while their parents were praying.

The DailyKos points out that this occurred shortly after a fear-mongering anti-Muslim propaganda DVD was distributed in newspapers and free mailings across several swing states, including Ohio.

I cannot consider that a coincidence.

There are those saying that comparisons to Kristallnacht are alarmist and exaggerated. Perhaps comparisons to Birmingham are more appropriate?

No, no one was killed in this cowardly assault on innocents. This is certainly a step beyond cross-burning and graffiti, however. Does someone actually have to die before Dayton police will recognize it as a hate crime?



[livejournal.com profile] scarfman provided this:

*<*div align="center"*>**<*a href="http://tinyurl.com/3gag6m"*>**<*img src="http://www.the-principle.net/images/freedom-of-religion.gif"*>**<*/a*>**<*/div*>*

Copy the code above and remove all the asterisks to link to the image.



athelind: (Default)
I've been trying to compose a response to this story all day: a Ramadan prayer service in Dayton, Ohio was interrupted on Friday when local thugs sprayed a chemical irritant into the mosque, specifically targeting the room where children and infant were being cared for while their parents were praying.

The DailyKos points out that this occurred shortly after a fear-mongering anti-Muslim propaganda DVD was distributed in newspapers and free mailings across several swing states, including Ohio.

I cannot consider that a coincidence.

There are those saying that comparisons to Kristallnacht are alarmist and exaggerated. Perhaps comparisons to Birmingham are more appropriate?

No, no one was killed in this cowardly assault on innocents. This is certainly a step beyond cross-burning and graffiti, however. Does someone actually have to die before Dayton police will recognize it as a hate crime?



[livejournal.com profile] scarfman provided this:

*<*div align="center"*>**<*a href="http://tinyurl.com/3gag6m"*>**<*img src="http://www.the-principle.net/images/freedom-of-religion.gif"*>**<*/a*>**<*/div*>*

Copy the code above and remove all the asterisks to link to the image.



athelind: (outrage)


I know posting something like this on my blog is largely preaching to the choir, but I wanted to pass it on anyway.

athelind: (Default)


I know posting something like this on my blog is largely preaching to the choir, but I wanted to pass it on anyway.

athelind: (patriot)

Quoth Kucinich: "...torture has been authorized by the President as a policy of his administration."



This is happening now. Kucinich is halfway through his 35 Articles of Impeachment as I type this.

Tune into C-SPAN now.




CNN is NOT currently airing this; from what I hear, they have yet to mention it. If you think they should, go to their feedback page and say so.

My "story idea":
As I type this, Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is presenting 35 Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush. C-SPAN is covering it. It is inexcusable that it has yet to warrant a MENTION on CNN.


athelind: (Default)

Quoth Kucinich: "...torture has been authorized by the President as a policy of his administration."



This is happening now. Kucinich is halfway through his 35 Articles of Impeachment as I type this.

Tune into C-SPAN now.




CNN is NOT currently airing this; from what I hear, they have yet to mention it. If you think they should, go to their feedback page and say so.

My "story idea":
As I type this, Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is presenting 35 Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush. C-SPAN is covering it. It is inexcusable that it has yet to warrant a MENTION on CNN.


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