Tuesday, July 29, 2014

imperialism is justice is god getting what he wants and damn any kids who get in the way

Native Americans shouldn't have defended themselves. They should have said, "here's the land, we'll just get out of your way, now." And as the Europeans pushed west, they should have said, "well, yes of course it's your land. You are superior. Your religion and your technological skill are just wow. You deserve it. And your willingness to push people off their land with your technological skill and justify it with your religion are superwow." So when the indigenous people, now and then, raided a European settlement built on land they'd claimed long before, well, let's just acknowledge that they were acting against the interests of God. They were the terrorists of their day. Europeans were entitled to the Americas, by God himself, on account of their demonstrably fine character, which they demonstrated, specifically, by never killing people or taking their land, or the opposite of that, or whatever, it doesn't matter, because they pulled the whole thing out of their collective arse.

Africans should have gladly offered themselves up as slaves when the Europeans came with ships. And when the Europeans came back for Africa's resources, the Africans should have joyfully helped in the wealth transfer. Because not-Europe was Shel Silverstein's "giving tree" and Europe was the boy who demanded it all, down to the stump. Resistance to God's will is evil. God will take all, and damn you if you get angry or resist. Ask Job. God will take all and you will like it. You will not resist. You will not defend yourself or your children or your right to hold onto anything at all. If you do, you're a terrorist.

The Nazis came and put the Jews, and many other unblessed ones, in death camps, among other acts of justice. And damn those Jews that resisted. That is not cool. The Germans were a unique race, better than all the rest, and their unique virtuousness was demonstrated by their superior technology and superior intellects, which were capable of justifying any possible action they might take. The Germans -- the white-looking, hetero, dickheaded ones anyway -- deserved everything and the Jews needed to move aside and let them have it. The Jews that resisted didn't value life the way Germans did. They spit in the face of God, those terrorists.

The Zionists came and took some of the Palestinians' land. Now they're taking more, and they deserve it, because they're superior, as you can tell from their actions. Their ability to combine force with its justification is spectacular as long as the application of force is going well, and it is, thanks.  And damn those who resist. The ones who fight back are the worst. They spit in the face of God, who is good, and can do anything he wants at any time. He can command you to kill your own son, as he did with Abraham, but because he's such a cool guy, as long as you obey him absolutely (but you really must do this first), he won't make you do it. Maybe. Depends on his mood, really. All who resist the will of God are terrorists. Do not fight back. Do not protect your family, unless God gives you permission, which he would totally do if he were the God you happened to pull out of your arse, but this is the God pulled out of theirs talking, so no, it's a no-go. You do not have permission. You may not keep weapons at a military facility because God will destroy it. You may not keep weapons within miles of any house, or any school. You may not have weapons, because that is resistance. And if you have weapons, God will destroy them. And God will destroy your houses and your schools. And fuck your kids if they happen to be there, in their own house, or in the school they were sent to for their safety. There's a term for having weapons in a densely populated open-air prison in defiance of God's will: human shields. You want to protect yourselves against God's wrath? How dare you, terrorists! It's your fault God had to do this to you. Why do you make him kill your children?

invitation to a war party

War Party B is enthusiastic about funding the massacre of civilians in Gaza. That War Party B is not War Party A is no argument in its favor. That would be a non sequitur. It only matters where you're forced to choose. You are not. Judge War Party B on its own merits.

War Party B is enthusiastic about funding the massacre of civilians in Gaza. That includes Nobel peace hero Obama, of course. You know how power (the boss) gives the orders and the person down the line does the thing? War Party B is power. They aren't the only ones responsible, but they're as responsible as anyone. They're not being pushed around by mean Rethuglicans, gosh I wish they had some backbone, or whatever. No one's dragging them from their mansions to their jobs in their fancy cars against their will. They have backbone, and they're using it to enthusiastically fund the massacre of civilians in Gaza.

If War Party A disappeared tomorrow, War Party B would splinter into two new factions, War Party C and War Party D, and one of them would be painted as effeminate cowards, and would respond that their rivals are always invading and killing the wrong non-life-valuing heathens for their own good at the wrong times, that they need to be smarter and less crass about the whole thing. And then a whole bunch of well-meaning (I use the term loosely) fools from Krugman to Chomsky will throw their weight, perhaps with reservations, behind one War Party or the other, and they'll push you to do the same.

Friday, July 25, 2014

note to democracy: please stop bringing so much joy to the world, thanks

(Crossposting from facebook, again. Two posts into one, actually.)

Hamas was democratically elected.* By western convention, this means it's totally cool if they have weapons of mass destruction, like say, Israel's or the U.S.'s nuke stockpiles, or simply, air-to-ground missiles (it's pretty massively destructive if it can blow up a wedding, no?). This because democracies are good and pure, whereas dictatorships and terrorists are evil. Because democracies never just invade countries on bogus premises. Democracies never blow up entire cities like Hiroshima or Nagasaki. So it's fine if democracies, exemplars of civilized decency that they are, have massive stockpiles of weapons. For example, the cutting edge weaponry amassed by the U.S. Defense (!) Department that accounts for half of the world's military spending. They've earned that by demonstrating their peacefulness over the past few centuries.

Think about that when you hear "Hamas is hiding weapons under schools!" I haven't researched whether thus is true because democratically elected governments, again, by convention, have weapons. They use force to control territory. (Where do you keep your toothbrush? I keep mine by the sink but I understand if you have different habits.) Mind you, this democracy isn't launching aggressive wars and you might find it understandable that they'd want to keep some weapons around when one of the world's top forces of destruction is right outside the building...whoa, wait, strike that, now they're inside. Where does Israel hide its weapons? Often in urban areas, for one thing (human shields!), but mainly, they don't resort to hiding them under schools because they're virtuous and...nah, because their giant badass weapons aren't vulnerable to attacks by Hamas' relatively weak-sauce weapons.

This article calls it "the radical Islamic movement Hamas." That's code for bad guys, if you were wondering. Whether they are or not is beside the point. You're meant to hate them. That's the point. Evidence is not required. You didn't even notice, they slipped it past you. Just root against them, like your most hated team. They say "terrorist" and show you a picture of a guy with a turban. Now you hate them. It's like the way you didn't notice how they make you walk to the back of the supermarket for the milk, and how you end up buying stuff you wouldn't have on the way. Or how you have positive associations with Ronald McDonald even though he's poisoning your kids. You don't even realize how it happened that you came to think Hamas = bad guys, Israel= good guys, but it did. That's how propaganda works.

You'll never come across the phrase "the radical Zionist Israeli government" in corporate-sponsored media, even when they've been the shot-callers, the aggressors, guilty of more terrorism, in the technical non-propagandistic sense of terrorizing civilian populations, by any objective measure, and when they're currently waging a holy war, if ever one has been waged.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hamas terrorists provoke weapons in the vicinity of friendly Israeli visitors to fire in the vicinity of UN-run school, killing 16

Check this headline from the Jerusalem Post:
IDF: Terrorists opened fire from vicinity of UN-run Gaza school

Take out "from vicinity of" and replace with "on," because if you've invaded a country and you killed 16 civilians in a school, you're the terrorist. "Israeli terrorists opened fire on UN-run Gaza school." That's the story, whether Hamas is otherwise a terrorist group or not.

"A projectile struck a complex containing a UN school in Beit Hanun in northern Gaza on Thursday, killing at least 15 people [actually, at least 16] and wounding dozens more..." Apparently it fired itself. This would be hilarious if it weren't so fucked up. An invading army fires at one of the few supposedly safe places in the land they've occupied -- one of the places civilians are supposed to take cover when the occupiers are so kind as to warn the invadees to get out of their own neighborhood because they're about to blow it up -- killing 16 people, and the story is about the democratically elected government of the invaded land --TERRORISTS! -- firing at the occupiers. I mean supposedly firing at the occupiers, supposedly "in the vicinity of" the UN-run school.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

let's focus on villainy avoidance, not proper victimly behavior

(Originally posted on facebook, i.e., for a general audience. Posted here with minor changes.)

If someone broke into my house, I'd try to get them to leave. If they didn't seem like much of a threat, I'd probably give them a chance to leave on their own before using force. If they gave me a good reason to let them stay, maybe I'd let them. If they gave me a good reason to give them some of my things, maybe I'd give them some. But if they insisted on taking my things by force without providing a reason I find acceptable, I'd use proportional force to try to get them to leave. If they posed a real physical threat to my family, I'd use any means necessary to stop them, up to and including lethal force. Now let's say I end up killing an intruder in my house, having exhausted other reasonable options. How would you judge me?

Taking it further, say a group of armed thugs enters my house and I simply can't kick them out. They set up in the living room and gradually take over more and more space. They take whatever they want. We barely have enough to survive. We deserve a better life than this. I have time to think about it, to premeditate my response. Now let's say I kill as many of them as I can, because it seems to be the least bad option left. Maybe you're a nice person who feels pity for those I killed. And you might think that now I'm as bad as them. Admittedly, I'd have degraded myself in the process, in some way sunk to their level. But if your first response is to talk about MY ethical failings in this situation, you've misread the context entirely. I did not create the (hypothetical) situation, I responded to it. I didn't deal myself this hand, they did.

The more rockets, the more money, the more F-16s, the more bought media coverage, the more power. The more power, the wider the range of choices. Rendered powerless, on the other hand, you can either submit or fight back. The option of living a decent, peaceful life has been taken off the table. I neither condone nor condemn -- I will not judge -- the one who responds to the invasion of her home or her land with lethal force. It's not even an ethical question, as ethics involves deciding between two or more reasonable options.

Another example. A menacing villain with a weapon gives you a choice -- he kills two innocents or your lover. A classic dilemma (that comes in various iterations), sure, but not an ethical one.

In the scenario, you're the good guy, a hero with his hands tied. This is just assumed. How do you stop the bad guy from doing the bad thing? What's the ethical thing to do? What do you do, well-meaning villain stopper? The answer is simple -- make sure you're not the one holding the gun, forcing bullshit ethical dilemmas on someone else. If you're doing that, stop. If you're not, you don't have an ethical dilemma. A decent ethics is one that works to avoid shitty hypotheticals. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

double talk

When a mafia boss orders a free man killed, it's called putting a hit out on that person, and is frowned upon.

When a judge orders a caged man killed, it's called an execution, and cheered as justice. In fact, there's nothing more just than killing someone. Stormborn said it, and we knew it was true.

When a child acts counter to parental expectations (desires, goals, intentions, etc.), it's called being bad.

When a parent acts counter to child expectations, it's for the child's own good. It is good, and don't dare ask why.

When a person continues to pursue a goal in spite of having already failed at least once, it's called either stubbornness or persistence, depending on the speaker/judge's biases. What matters is not the ambitious one's chances of success, but whether the judge wants her to continue, for whatever reason. The judge's motives remain mostly hidden, though, as the positive/negative element is meant to be about the act as such, as some kind of object. By implication, it's good or bad, period, whereas, in fact, it can only be good or bad from the speaker's point of view.

A woman who has sex with many men is a whore. A whore is the opposite of a player, a person who also frequently has sex but who, thanks to belonging to the right a priori category, is a priori good.

When power gets what it wants, it's called good.

When neurons get what they want, it's called good. 

Two men raising a happy child is covered by an umbrella called profane. A man and a woman raising a miserable child is covered by an umbrella called sacred. The judgment comes before. How else to condemn happiness?

A black man in a hoodie with a gun is called thug. A black man in the right uniform with a gun is called hero, unless he's acting, knowingly or not, outside the expectations, at whatever point in spacetime, of the ones who get to decide what's good. At that point, he will be considered, at worst, a bad apple.

A man who blows up a civilian-filled building and himself for a cause he's fully committed to, but not under the orders of big local power, is called a coward.

A man who blows up a civilian-filled building for a cause he may or may not be committed to -- for reasons, to be frank, often of personal finance and video-game-ish fun -- on the orders of big local power, is called a freedom protector and is covered by an umbrella called brave. The judgment comes before.

A nihonjin in France calls the French people she sees gaijin. To the nihonjin, the furansujin is a foreigner in her own country. Big local power's double talk can cross borders.

Americans are the good guys even in countries they've invaded.

And so on.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

heroes and whores

From "The Angry Bartender":
Said at my bar tonight... Actually no...
I feel I need to set this one up and is too long, so it's more of a story than a "shit said"...
I think a lot of people don't understand that some people just want to go to a bar, and are content sitting alone.
I love my friends, the close ones are truly like family to me. But a lot of them have jobs with "normal" hours... And I'm content just sitting at a bar after work for a beer or 5 watching ESPN or on this page with my phone.
A lot of people don't get that.
They go out because they "need" interaction. Maybe they're an extrovert... Maybe their self-esteem is so low they need assurance they exist.
I had these two types next to each other tonight. A man watching the hockey match, in his jersey. A woman, trying to get his attention, in a Marilyn Monroe T-shirt. He was being polite, responding to her as much as he could, but never really taking his eyes off the TV.
Well, after a few attempts to get him to assure her that she exists she got mad, and said,
"I don't get why men wear jerseys, it's like that player owns you, their name is on your back. You're their bitch."
Without taking his eyes off the TV, he says, (this isn't word for word... But as close as I could remember it.)
"Well, it's not that. It's hard to explain to someone like you, but let me try. It's support, for your team and favorite player usually... Sort of like the Marilyn Monroe picture on your shirt... You wish you were like them. At the end of the day, I'll cheer and remember better times in my younger days when I could still compete, and maybe in the back of my mind... I'll remember it different than it was. Maybe after a few beers or shots... I'll think I could have been as good as those guys on TV. I'm really not though, but it makes me happy. Just like you... You probably walk around quoting Marilyn Monroe as a roll model... But at the end of the day, like you, she wasn't worth quoting... She was just a whore that wanted attention and friendship."
I stopped in my tracks. Anyone in ear shot just stared at them. She looked at me and said, "Are you just going to let him say that without doing anything?!?"
... So I bought him a beer and did a shot with him.
The takeaway:

Put yourself on display for money and adulation in the role of warrior/athlete/dominator who many people will, as a result, be more likely to want to have sex with --> you are a hero (warning: does not apply to non-hetero men)

Put yourself on display for money and adulation in the role of physically attractive person who many people will, as a result, be more likely to want to have sex with --> you are a whore
(warning: does not apply to hetero men)

It's almost as if the language is rigged as a win-win for hetero men!