Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Day (& 18 Years) After

From Intersections of Fate (, September 13, 2001):
America is now emerging from the shock of Black Tuesday with an understandable desire to avenge its dead. Many suggestions on how to do that are outlandish, and some border on insanity. If the most vocal warmongers get their way, this country would become embroiled in an endless war against the entire world, destroying entire cities at a whim. Any effort to make the world safe for America while making the world less safe for everyone else is ultimately both futile and paradoxical.
Opposing all terrorism as a principle is a truly noble endeavor, one which the author of these lines would eagerly join. Experiences in the Balkans point to a different reality, though. One cannot fight terrorism and use it at the same time. (emphasis added)
From War Without End (September 27, 2001):
Far from the eyes of the American public, still intently focused on a scorched patch of mountains in central Asia, the first battle of "Operation Enduring Freedom" ("Supreme Irony" having been too obvious) has already been fought. No shots were fired. No lives were lost, not yet. But the battle – and with it, perhaps the entire war – was lost.
This week’s events in the Balkans clearly show that the war on terrorism is anything but, and that the only benefactor of Black Tuesday will be the apocalyptic vision of American Empire, now finally able to assert itself in a war without end.
From The Day Nothing Changed (September 12, 2002):
The time was right to re-examine America's Balkans policies of the past decade, and possibly even extricate itself from an Imperial commitment in the peninsula that seemed irrelevant and wasteful in the light of the new "War on Terror." Was this done? No.
The aftermath of Black Tuesday was a golden opportunity to redefine America as a Republic, not an Empire. It was missed.
From The Lost Terror War (September 11, 2003)
George [W.] Bush's claim that America was after terrorists everywhere was seriously undermined from the very beginning by its continued support for terrorists in the Balkans...
Those familiar with events in Kosovo and Macedonia, and certain personalities in Bosnia, were forced to conclude that terrorism was considered "evil" only when it targeted Americans. Others were fair game, especially when the terrorists were American "allies."
Americans desperately need to decide whether to support a policy that aims to create a global Balkans, where US power and hypocrisy rule supreme. They should know that in the real Balkans, where US power is unchallenged, terrorism thrives...
From Eppur si muove (Gray Falcon, September 11, 2014),
I've said everything I've cared to say over the past thirteen years - how one cannot fight terrorism and support it at the same time, how there are no "good" terrorists just because they currently serve one's agenda, how it's madness to appease jihadists in hopes of earning their gratitude, etc. etc. Go through the posts tagged 9/11 if you wish, and see for yourselves whether the questions I've posed are not just as relevant today as a year ago, or five, or ten.
And I stand by my contention that there was never any war on terror(ism): the grand crusade was all about power.
Memory eternal to those who perished on 9/11. Maybe some day we can actually make sure their deaths have not been in vain. 

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Some thoughts on guns

(another collection of takes from Twitter, rearranged and slightly expanded for your convenience in this medium)

Before you endorse a ban on "assault weapons," take a deep breath. There is no such thing.

The term "assault rifle" is literally a translation of Sturmgewehr, a name bestowed by Adolf Hitler himself on a strange hybrid of a rifle and an automatic pistol that Nazi weaponmakers had developed behind his back.

The "AR" in AR-15 does not stand for "assault rifle" but for "ArmaLite Rifle," its maker.

Military - i.e. fully automatic - weapons in civilian hands have been illegal in the US since 1938. The so-called "assault weapons ban" of 1994 relied on arbitrary COSMETIC features of weapons. It was easily circumvented, and did nothing to prevent the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.

A ban on "semi-automatic" weapons would leave only revolvers, bolt-action rifles and some shotguns legal. Good luck with that.

American founders understood that "certain inalienable rights" made the difference between a citizen and a subject: freedom of speech, due process, and the "right to keep and bear arms." That is why they are in the Constitution, via the Bill of Rights. If you can't understand that this is fundamental to America, and why, then this might not be the country for you - whether you were born here or not.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Decoding US politics

(or, a collection of takes from Twitter, rearranged and slightly expanded for your convenience in this medium)

There are two "filters" that make it possible to accurately decode approximately 97% of US politics. One is projection - the tendency to project one's own misdeeds on someone else, preferably the designated evildoer. The other is "who/whom," named after V.I. Lenin's famous distillation of politics.

To the who/whom crowd, it doesn't matter what you say or do. It's all about WHO YOU ARE. If they've designated you as virtuous, you can do no wrong, and if they've designated you as villainous, you can do no right. And there is no persuading them otherwise.

"Everyone that disagrees with me is racist, everything I disagree with is a conspiracy theory, and anything that challenges my current feelings is dangerous hate speech that should be banned and its authors deplatformed. This is called liberal democracy."

If you are screaming about something when X does it to Y, but not when Y does it to X, you're not principled, you're a hypocrite.

Semantic word games and slaying straw men aren't "fact-checking," but gaslighting.

US President Donald Trump’s tactic has been the same all along: condemn something that's obviously deserving of condemnation, then watch his critics go nuts trying to defend the indefensible. It keeps working in his favor every time, yet his enemies keep taking the bait over and over. Remarkable.

Trump's "superpower" (whether you consider him a hero or a villain) is to reveal reality that has long been obfuscated by both pretty and ugly lies.

You're welcome.