gallinggalla: (Default)
[NB: I know that I'm responding quite late to the news of the virus that infected the Predator drone command-and-control center.  I couldn't formulate a coherent response at that time.  A recent discussion with a friend of mine brought this issue to the fore.]

You call yourself pilots

Pilots risk their lives to carry out their missions

You sit in front of your video screens in air-conditioned comfort

You call yourself soldiers

Soldiers look human beings in the eyes before shooting them

Soldiers know that they might shoot first

Soldiers lay their lives on the line

You tell jokes, eat sandwiches, surf the net

You wank your joysticks

And half a world away, innocent people die

War is just a video game to you

Only cowards fight push-button wars

Only cowards inject lethal chemicals into an innocent man's veins without even looking at him

Only cowards order an innocent man's death because they can't admit they were wrong

Push a button and a dozen Afghanis die

Push a button and an innocent man dies

~~~~~~

May the souls of those killed by our drones and our wars for oil, rest in peace.

May the souls of Troy Davis, Manuel Valle, and all other people murdered by the state, rest in peace.
gallinggalla: (Default)

I'm a moderately devout Christian. And I agree with the American Atheists that the WTC cross has no place at the memorial.

We should not be privileging Christianity, or any particular religion, in public discourse. We should not be privileging theism over atheism and agnosticism.

I practice my religion in private, at home and in my church. I don't ram it down people's throats. Crosses belong in churches, not in the public square.

The United States is explicitly a secular nation. We must keep it that way, so that all people are free to practice their particular beliefs (theistic or not) as befits them.

Turning the US into a so-called "Christian" nation will grievously harm *all* belief / non-belief. If the Christianists think they are somehow "saving" this country or Christianity by trying to impose their extremist theocratic views on us, they had better think again, because what are they doing but seeking to impose "sharia"* with a cross stamped on it? If they get their way, will they dictate their particular brand of Christianism on my church? If they do, they will lose me, for I will not bow down to their theocracy and will very willingly become unchurched.

Having symbols of other religions and of atheism at the memorial will be better than the current situation. But rather than getting into squabbles about "your symbol is bigger than mine, so I'm SUING!!!111!!!!elevensies!", better that there should not be religious symbols at the memorial. We should be honoring the memories of all people that died – atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, people of other faiths and beliefs – and not just Christians.

* "sharia" in quotes, because the Christianists have absolutely no understanding of sharia.

gallinggalla: (Default)
So it would seem that "philanthropist" Greg Mortenson is a fraud.

I mean, look at the photo at the top of the story: White male dude rides in to "rescue" brown people from themselves. In the process, he gets US $30,000 speaking fees and flies in private jets while lying to people about the schools he supposedly built in Afghanistan.

But what turns my stomach the most is this [bold mine]:
Three Cups of Tea has sold over 4m copies and brought Mortenson not just celebrity but a wide audience for his views on how to win "hearts and minds" in the Islamic world. General David Petraeus, overall commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, and his predecessor General Stanley McChrystal, were both fans of the book. McChrystal wrote to Mortenson in June 2010: "If I'm not involved in the years ahead, I will take tremendous comfort in knowing people like you are helping Afghans build a future."

The former mountaineer has also lectured at top American military academies and been invited to talk with the most senior officers of the American military about his belief that Islamist extremism is best fought through female education.


Great. So a bunch of white Western cis het owning-class dudes use the language of white Western cis het owning-class (WWCHO-C) feminism to justify colonialist wars. And of course, those white Western cis het owning-class feminists – the ones that dominate and control feminist discourse in the Global North – sit on their laurels and say nothing while their words are used to justify invasions, mass killing of civilians, and torture.

WWCHO-C feminists say nothing while Republicans destroy what's left of unions and make life harder for working-class women.

WWCHO-C feminists say nothing while immigrant women are physically and sexually abused and denied health care in ICE facilities and for-profit jails and Arpaio's hellholes. Feminists say nothing when those women's children are taken away from them.

WWCHO-C feminists say nothing as the prison-industrial complex and the War on Drugs tears apart communities of color.

I didn't leave feminism *just* because WWCHO-C feminism is rife with transphobia and fake "allyship". I left because of this shit.
gallinggalla: (Default)
I'm sorry to curse, people, but this is fucking ridiculous. A conservative federal judge, Roger Vinson, in the conservative court district of Pensacola in the conservative state of Florida, is throwing a hissy fit about the Affordable Health Care Act because:
Vinson's 78-page ruling hinged on the argument that by requiring people to buy healthcare insurance the government could set a precedent that would upset the free flow of food across state boundaries.

"Congress could require that people buy and consume broccoli at regular intervals," he wrote.

He says this is sufficient reason to block the requirement that all people obtain insurance (which is scheduled to go into effect in 2012), and that is sufficient to scuttle the entire legislation.

This kind of off-the-wall shit isn't just coming from the fringes, folks. It has poisoned our court system. This is a very dangerous precedent; Rethuglicans will use the courts, including the Supreme Court, to the greatest extent possible to codify oppression, class war, and fascism into "constitutional" law.
gallinggalla: (Default)
The Mississippi Senate has passed SB2179, the bill that's a copycat of Arizona SB1070 on a 34-15 vote. Like AZ SB1070, MS SB2179 codifies racism into law.

If this bill becomes law, I fear that there will be a wave of similar (or worse) punitive legislation across the country. What will it take for USians to get it through out thick heads that it's through *our* policies and trade agreements (NAFTA, CAFTA, etc) that has allowed US multinationals to wreck the economies of Mexico and Central American countries, to the extent that poverty is forcing their citizen's to seek work in the US? And when is Obama's Justice Department going to do anything more than wag fingers at these states?

Owate. Obama's deported more immigrants on an annualized basis than GW Bush did. So obviously this isn't a high-priority issue for him.
gallinggalla: (Default)
[H/T mattbastard]

Jeffrey Sachs acknowledges that wealthy corporations and individuals are making war on poor and working-class people, with the help of both major political parties. He nails it when he says that Obama has done nothing but kowtow to the rich:
Obama swept to power on the promise of change. So far there has been none. His administration is filled with Wall Street bankers. His top officials leave to join the banks, as his budget director Peter Orszag recently did. He is always ready to serve the interests of the rich and powerful, with no line in the sand, no limit to “compromise.”

Mr Sachs thinks that should the Rethuglicans be successful in enacting sweeping cuts to programs that benefit poor and working-class people, that these people will rise up in resistance:
In the end, I don’t think [the Rethuglicans] will succeed. For the moment, most Americans seem to be going along with Republican arguments that it is better to close the budget deficit through spending cuts rather than tax increases. Yet when the actual budget proposals are made, there will be a growing backlash. With their backs against the wall, I predict, poor and working-class Americans will begin to agitate for social justice.

But there's one thing that Sachs is not considering: The intensity with which the Obama Administration is ramping up the police state.

Because, you see, the Cravencrats are not a counter-party to the Rethuglicans. They are not an alternative to the Rethuglicans. The Cravencrats and the Rethuglicans are two prongs of the same strategy of turning the US into a neo-liberal haven for the rich, of destroying the middle class (partly by cooptation of the upper end into the upper class, and partly by pushing the rest into poverty), and of literally mandating mass homelessness and starvation for the poor and working class.

And when it comes to using the police state to ensure that the poor stay not only poor, but disenfranchised: Obama indeed says, "Yes We Can" to the wealthy of this country. I mean, gee, if East Germany was so successful in getting its citizens to snitch on each other, why can't we, President Obama? "Yes We Can!"

Now I'm not saying that it would be impossible for poor, working-class, and (the fast-disappearing) lower-middle-class people to rise up against the capitalist system, but I do think that Mr. Sachs isn't taking into account just how effective the US police state has become, the brutality with which it operates, and the technological means that they have at their disposal (funded, of course, by wealthy individuals and corporations) to spy upon, capture, detain, and torture protesters and to suppress dissent in general.

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