war

Civil War 2.0 Will Be Livestreamed

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

The events of this summer are a taste of what’s to come in the fall, and even more so, November 9, 2016.

Someone is going to win the Presidential election, and regardless of whether it’s Trump or Clinton, the loser’s supporters are going to feel existential angst about America, and their place in it, far beyond the usual.

Pat Buchanan advises us to take a Chill Pill; “For when a real powder keg blew in the ’60s, I was there. And this is not it.” And yet…in “The ’60s” (and the early ’70s, which is when some of the worst SHTF) we had the evening TV news and the papers. The crazy spread slower then. This time, any and every incident is going to be magnified and extremely accelerated. (more…)

Moral distortion

“We can’t refuse immigrants – that would be racist. We will just have to settle for implementing a police state to keep us safe from the consequences of mass immigration.”

I’ve heard Bill de Blasio, David Cameron and many other pro-immigration political figures from the West discussing why every consumer device needs a government backdoor installed into it to compromise its security so countries can deal with the social burden created by importing a third world underclass. Similar arguments are made for gun control. This line of logic makes sense when it’s granted that racism is the worst thing in the world, even worse than living in an Orwellian dystopia.

That’s an unnerving system of ideas to say the least. And thanks to my bizarre and recent habit of talking about Donald Trump with strangers at social events, I got to witness a genuine instance of “racism is insurmountably evil.”

I mention not hating Trump and the customary hush falls over the room, but some guy is willing to play ball and asks me why I don’t share the opinion of every basic DC bitch. I mention how he’s actually reliably anti-immigration, but how his most recent comments have alienated me, like when he mentioned that he wants to kill the families of terrorists. That’s eyerolly shit that neocons actually believe in their heart of hearts, a far cry from the funny-but-true, emperor-has-no-clothes type comments Trump is known and loved for.

Another recent Trump comment that I can’t get behind, I explain, is the total ban on Muslims entering. That’s stupid for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Shia, Ibadi and Ahmadiyya Muslims are pretty alright. But I point out that that comment isn’t really bad, in the grand scheme of things, since mainstream politicians talk about war and killing like it’s no big deal. War and killing is worse than mere discrimination, right? …Right!?

Wrong, apparently.

He mentions how that’s, like, racist and stuff. I mention how people in staying their original countries might be less than ideal, but it’s not as bad as killing. Noah Millman articulated it really well over at The American Conservative:

But why are these not more important hallmarks of an incipient American fascism than the fact that Trump regularly sounds like a more obnoxious and egotistical version of Archie Bunker? And why is saying “no Muslims should be allowed onto American soil until we’ve got a process for monitoring them” more outrageous than a threat to “find out if sand can glow in the dark” (Ted Cruz’s threat to nuke ISIS)? Why is threatening mass-murder less horrifying than threatening discrimination in immigration on the basis of religion?

I’m not saying that having a President – or even a major candidate – who spouts xenophobic rants is a good thing. It’s a bad thing. I’m just suggesting that we’ve long since gotten used to things that are much worse, and perhaps we should pay a bit more attention to that fact.

I point this out to the guy I am talking to, and then mentions how there’s people dying in Colombia. That’s obviously an exception that we’re not talking about, so he shows his hand as not having any interesting ideas and the conversation ends.

This kind of moral distortion that we’ve been expected to subscribe to is, for better or worse, probably part of the reason why Trump is so popular. People who live in most parts of the United States are fine with how they’ve lived and their assumptions – say, war being worse than racism – but are caught in disjunction between moral compass and that of political and intellectual elites.

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A House United

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A castle which stands upon nothing at all
Seen by those walking quickly by
In a shadow of its great monstrance
They dare speak not ill, but fully serve
A meal given of our last substance
To the hungry birds, poor and ravenous
Men in lines and cues, black and white
Given without measure, Given without measure,
Men in lines and cues, black and white
To the hungry birds, poor and ravenous
A meal given of our last substance
They dare not speak ill, but fully serve
In a shadow of its great monstrance
Seen by those walking quickly by
A castle which stands upon nothing at all.

Image credit: Justin Brown (flickr).
Cross-posted at A Spy In The House of God.

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For the U.S., force is not enough to defeat ISIS

Reprinted from the Press and Journal:

She never saw it coming.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf was caught off-guard by the host’s tough questions. When asked what it will take for the U.S. to defeat the Islamic State, Harf admitted “we cannot win this war by killing them.”

She went further: “We need in the medium and longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s a lack of opportunity for jobs.”

Islamic radicals are capturing vast swaths of Iraq and Syria because they want… jobs?

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We’re going back to Iraq and boy is it depressing

Mark Twain’s quip about history was wrong; it indeed repeats. Unfortunately the repetition is of bad things, rarely good.

After promising to roll back the folly that was the Iraq War, President Obama is taking us back to the graveyard of empires. He recently presented Congress with an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” to go after the growing Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The president has been using airstrikes on ISIS for 6 months already. Under current law, he’s supposed to request Congress’ imprimatur after 60 days of carrying out military action. But, hey, what’s a little thing like law to get in the way of bombs?

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Violence as a matter of scale

It’s interesting what happens when you see two nations, diverse and distinct as they can be, interact. A minor hostile interaction can tend to escalate very quickly if you let it. When all you have is emotions and pure instinct to go by, a slight can become a fistfight very quickly. That goes with people. Communities. Nations.

Conflict takes a lot to inspire these days, but it’s far easier to incite it as the number of people you need to provoke grows ever smaller. It’s made all the more so when you see the other as not just some other person, but as something else. If you think that Other person isn’t respecting you and your space in that moment, what do you do? Are you calm enough to let it slide? Do you run away, as some would argue here? Or do you fight?

It’s admittedly strange to compare violent conflicts of recent, especially because the reasons and methods are so diverse, and because sounds so simplistic. But applying the economics of scale, you become more appreciative of what is happening from a holistic perspective, even you don’t have a complete understanding of things. In two such conflicts, the lack of clarity makes a comparison apt. When you have two distinct groupings, clarity is beyond important when a mistake is made in interaction. Sometimes, that requires patience.

Three teenagers kidnapped and killed. Or maybe they were killed already, and the butchers had made a large mess in the clear-up. Or maybe they were kidnapped and accidentally killed. The killers are (not) state-mandated terrorists. Or they’re (not) militants associated with the government. Or they’re (not) just a bunch of morons with AK-47s and some unabashed sense of righteousness. Or the leadership admitted their (non) role in the situation.

A teenager is shot and killed. Maybe he was (not) a suspect in a robbery. Maybe he was (not) reaching for a cop’s a gun. Maybe he was (not) picking a fight. Maybe he just said (did not say) “fuck off, pig” with his hands up. The cop’s a rookie. The cop’s a veteran. The cop is (not) hiding something. The cop is (not) hiding. There are (no) death threats.

All this information is as much a jumble as the items found in a trash can. Yet we seek to answer this slight as fast we can. Why? Why bother asking? We demand justice, revenge, blood. Screw the first two words, we’ve always wanted blood. It’s one of the few things we yearn for more than sex.

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