Abdulrahman al-Awlaki

This is the last time I am going to post this. Obama leaves office in 5 days.

The picture is Abdulrahman al-Awlaki

abdulrahman-al-awlaki

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdulrahman_al-Awlaki

 

They’ve updated the story since I last checked.

“Two U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity stated that the target of the October 14, 2011 airstrike was Ibrahim al-Banna, an Egyptian believed to be a senior operative in Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”

Obama and his administration were never held to account for this killing and most people don’t even know what happened.

Abdulrahman was never charged with a crime, never tried for a crime, never found guilty in any court of law. The killing was completely outside the law.

And no one called Obama out on it.

Targeted Killings

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targeted_killing

These are bad ideas. They will come back to haunt us. Obama could have put this outside the reason of the US president and never did.

So. If you are of a mind to, remember Abdulrahman al-Awlaki

Like Move and Waco

Another step in the wrong direction.

Move
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOVE#1985_bombing

Branch Davidian Massacre
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waco_siege

 

quote-the-nationalist-not-only-does-not-disapprove-of-atrocities-committed-by-his-own-side-george-orwell-22-12-36

 

Reposted for Evidence

THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 223, May 11, 2003

Why I Took Down “Old Glory”
by Jay P Hailey

http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2003/libe223-20030511-03.html
I used to love my flag. I used to love the little 3 X 4″ ones they’d hand out every 4th of July. I’d take them home and plant or post them all over my house.

I had Stars and Stripes pins. I went and bought a lapel pin after 9/11. A friend chided me gently about jumping on the bandwagon and I said, “You know I’ve been a flag waver all along. I’ll have these things up and displayed even after it’s no longer cool.”

My friend nodded. He’d seen my collection.

I can read history. I know of some of the terrible crimes that have been committed under that flag. (Ask any Native American). But to me this flag represented a promise. a Promise that if we kept liberty in mind and kept taking steps in that direction, maybe one day it would really stand for the principles of that vague promise.

Everyone equal under the law, everyone has the same rights, by their very nature. I own myself. You own yourself and there would be lines a just government just wouldn’t cross.

The Reagan Administration worried me, using the flag more for PR and symbolism that substance. Nice photo ops of the great leader while the promises went unfulfilled.

Then the Flag Burning amendment came up. I never spoke at any great length with anyone on a “pro” side of that. The couple of people I approached became very emotional and angry, difficult to speak with.

One patch of dirt calling itself Freedonia is pretty much the same as another patch of dirt calling itself Anvilania. The difference is in the principles.

People seemed will to throw away principles in favor of an incoherent shriek that our patch of dirt is better “just ’cause!”

My faith was restored (a little) when the Flag Burning Amendment died, and had its little corpse dragged around to make political hay. Just another PR stunt. Nothing to see here.

Then Sept 11 happened. We were all new Yorkers that day, and we were all Americans. The individuals doing what they felt right lifted my spirits like I can’t express to you. The immediate aftermath independent of the government was one of this country’s shining moments. This is when we saw some of what people were made of.

There was some backlash against Muslims and Arab Americans. My True Love went up to the Muslim-American Center here in town and placed her delicate body between it and any possible threat, and she wasn’t alone when she did it.

Repeated calls went out that can be summarized “Hey, don’t be an idiot, don’t take it out on our Muslim and Arab neighbors.”

I was on cloud nine. “This is who we are!” I thought.

Then the Patriot act passed and I thought “Uh oh!” and hoped it was just another PR stunt. It’s not.

Then came the war in Afghanistan. 3000 Afghanis dead and counting (Plus over 200 of our brothers and sisters in uniform, and counting). W made all sort of promises with my tax money, and then didn’t live up to any of them. (Instead all of our tax dollars go to buy 36 Virginia Class attack subs that have no purpose in the world of today, or tax cuts to corporations that contribute millions to the re-election campaign.)

Then we hear of Americans being taken prisoner and hauled off without the benefit of counsel or due process.

Then the war in Iraq. We all new it was coming the moment the President sighed like a little boy forced to apologize and marched into the U.N and said “My way or the highway!”

I remember the goofy rationalizations and lies, and an unstoppable momentum towards attacking a country that posed us no threat at all.

Now there are 2500 Iraqi people dead (probably a lot more) and counting. Another 200 American Service people dead, and counting.

People are still cheering. If the aftermath of 9/11 is the best of our country, the war in Iraq is our dark side. The news says a lot of people support the war. The permanent, floating “War Against Whatever It Is, This Week”. Some people “Support Our Troops”, which I take to mean like rooting for the home team in the big game.

Except this ain’t the super bowl. 400+ of our people would are gone and so are tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those aren’t touchdowns. Those are dead human beings.

I support our troops. Let’s bring them home, feed them cookies and buy them drinks! Sending them out to die for the cause of Halliburton’s bottom line is not supporting them by any definition I can call sane.

Any of the promises or principles that I used to feel were attach to that red, white and blue rag have been obliterated. It’s just the gang colors of the meanest batch of monkeys on some random patch of dirt.

I had to take it down. I looked at Stars and Stripes but instead I saw Swastikas, Hammers-and-Sickles, red flags, Jolly Rogers and maybe a crusader’s cross or two.

I hear Fox News, CNN and MSNBC giving Bush blowjobs right out of the Gobbels manual for fascist propaganda, always with that rag fluttering nearby.

It’s not a promise any more. It’s a lie and a direct threat of violence.

Recently I began to purchase Gadsdens. The yellow flag with the rattlesnake and the legend “Don’t Tread on Me”.

I can believe in that. Leave me alone. I don’t want to play “Justify the Nazi” any more. I don’t want to pay for his war machines and his jackbooted thugs. I certainly don’t want them pointed at me.

America once might have been the land of the free, but now it’s the land of the free ride for rich oil barons and corrupt energy executives paid for with the fruits of my labor. This monster is paid for in the blood of people who I’ve never met and who now want to kill me.

So I took down the symbol of the Texas Reich, the symbol of the largest, richest and one of the more brutal Evil Empires in all history. I would no sooner fly the swastika in my home or office.

They took a symbol I loved and believed in and destroyed it.

Goddamn them. Goddamn the Bush administration and their corporate cronies and all their power hungry thugs who don’t understand that it’s just another set of gang colors unless it means something.

I am going to get used to saying it. I bet I’ll be saying it more and more over the next several years.

“If you keep doing what you’re doing, You’ll keep getting what you’re getting.”

Okay. You look at some Scandals, like Flint Michigan, or other things and we run into a serious problem.

For my example, I am going to use the Ford Motor Company Pinto disaster of the 1970s

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1971-1980-ford-pinto12.htm

The punchline of the scandal was that it became clear early on that Ford Pintos had a design flaw in early models that made the fuel tank likely to rupture in a rear-end collision. Ford knew about this, but elected not to enact a fix for this because they estimated that fixing the problem would cost them $137 million while paying off lawsuits would cost them $37 million.

Stuff like this happens all the time.

Here is my premise.

Humans are tribal. We tend to identify with members of our tribe first and outsiders second.

So when the officials of Ford Motor Company were exposed to the facts of the Pinto problem, they had a complete failure of empathy for the people who’d be hurt.

I think they identified more with the abstract entity of Ford Motor Company, than they did with the injured people and survivors of people who died because of the Pinto problem.

Similarly official with the Flint Michigan Government identified more with their Abstract entity, acting to protect it from embarrassment rather than empathizing with children and other people injured by lead in the water.

So – what is this about us, that we’d put Ford Motor Company or the Flint City Government ahead of real, no shit human beings?

I think it’s a matter of misplaced empathy. I think these people subconsciously relate to the Ford Motor Company or the Government of Flint, as though these entities are people,  as if these entities are people with much higher social status in their group.

I don’t think the form of a corporation is to blame. I don’t think the form of a city government is to blame, in this case.

I think what we’re seeing is a case where human emotional and social reactions honed by millions of years of evolution is a poor fit for relating to problems between Ford Motor Company and other people.

Note, that the people who made this decision at Ford worked at Ford every day. They went to Ford and did Ford things with Ford people for Ford reasons.

They knew someone was going to be injured, but they didn’t know who. They didn’t know this person, they had no interaction. So for the Ford Executives, Ford as an entity was much more present, real and an active part of their lives, while possible accident victims were more abstract and notional.

-*-

I have been hearing about a book called “Thinking, Fast and Slow”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow

I am digging into it, slowly.

I think that the people who make decisions like the ones I am looking at above are reacting, subconsciously to their Organization like a person. They’ve unwittingly engaged their sympathy and empathy with their group, and withdrawn it from other people who are being actually harmed.

I think that if people were properly educated, they could overcome this system 1 rooted loyalty to their group with a better, but slower system 2 loyalty to a system of ethics that outlawed abstract groups hurting real human beings.

But it seems like no one was aware of this effect and no one knew how it could have such negative consequences.

We’re seeing a lot of this. From Flint, MI to the US Federal Government

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/06/obamas-whistleblowers-stuxnet-leaks-drones

to the Pentagon

http://fortune.com/2016/03/10/the-f-35-is-still-a-mess/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_injury

The V.A.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Health_Administration_scandal_of_2014
And the Dakota Access Pipeline

What to Know About the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

-*-
It’s clear that people in organizations all over the world, need the tools (Identifying system 1 and system 2 thinking) and the awareness (To be aware of misplaced empathy and disregarding people who really SHOULD receive empathy) to be able to more effectively choose to do the right thing.

We see time and again, in scandals, usually the breaking of the scandal is an ugly surprise. For many people involved in such a scandal, That’s a scandal at all is a surprise. Then they quickly begin to cover up the bad decisions that have resulted in a serious problem.

Obviously, these people have had a point in time, somewhat earlier – where they came upon a decision to be made. Many seem not to have recognized the gravity of the decision facing them.

When encountering such a decision, these people were unarmed. They did not have the tools, or the awareness to understand that, yes, if you chose to hurt human beings, it DOES suck. The decision came and caught them unaware and defeated their ethical code before there was much of a fight.

We need to arm people against these bad decisions.

And, if people elect to place the well-being of an abstract entity over the well being of human beings – there needs to be a lot of transparency and strong feedback.

But also note. How often do people in a government or a corporation start keeping secrets? How often to they take actions to keep facts, choices, events and actions out of sight of people outside the organization?

Human tribalism is interacting with these large organizations in an extremely negative way.

I’d like to see this addressed. I like to see us try and move away from this tribal impulse, even if it means making a sustained and conscious effort not to do this sort of thing.

Where I hang out, sometimes, they have a saying. “If you keep doing what you’re doing, You’ll keep getting what you’re getting.”

I think that slogan is a great summation of politics at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017.

We keep doing the same things and getting the same things as a result.

Michelle Obama

Look. I think Presidents and the whole context of Presidents are a bad idea. I have disagreed with almost everything Obama has done – and even the things he did that I thought were better than average, always have that asterisk next to them.
But only a fool would overlook how much Obama MEANT to some people. Only an idiot would overlook where we really are in history.
Almost from Jan 21 2008, I could not disagree with anything Obama did without being called a racist for it, Despite my loud hostility to GWB, who was, by any sane measure, a much worse president.
But when people say racist shit about Barack Obama or his Wife, Michelle, I want to feed them that stupid shit back down their throats sideways.
The fact of the matter is that compared with the administrations of GWB, Bill Clinton and George Herbert Walker Bush
Michelle Obama and the Obama family have been remarkably quiet, graceful and free of public dumbassery.

If you accept the premise of presidents, first ladies and first families, which I do not, but if you accept that premise, then Michelle Obama and the Obama daughters have done it well.

Their lack of drama and the fact that their occasional human derp fests never made much of a splash has been soothing and relaxing.

Women used to say: “You have to do twice as much to be considered half as good.”  I suspect a similar sentiment has been expressed among Black Americans.

Michelle Obama, as first lady did that.   And it’s a mark of how well she carried off being first lady that optimists and lunatics, about noon on nov 9th 2016, floated her name as a possible presidential pick in 2020.

Laura Bush was perfectly acceptable, but always seemed a little overwhelmed. Barbara and Jenna Bush always seemed to struggle with celebrity, a bit.

Hillary was, well Hillary. Chelsea was at an awkward time in her life and believe me, Assholes fed that back to her in box car lots.

The Elder Barbara Bush’s memory has always been tarnished for me by her idiotically foolish utterances during Hurricane Katrina.  Back in those days (1989 to 1993) There was no internet, so word of GHWB’s sons being all over and tied up somewhere in business and politics all over the the GOPs range never really got out.  In this day and age, I think GHWB would be seen as a nepotism festival, a sort of nepotism-palooza, or nepotism-themed Woodstock.

The elder Barbara Bush always seemed very hoity toity to me. Like no one talked about America’s class system, but she knew it and knew she was above YOU on it.

-*-

 

So the point of this rant, the stream of first lady consciousness is – Fuck the people who compared Michelle Obama to a gorilla. Fuck the people who claim she’s a transgender.

If they have the energy to open their mouths and let shit like that out, they had the energy to try to make the world a better place, and elected not to.

There’s a hidden undertone, too, of shaming trans-people. like photoshopping a bulge on Michelle Obama’s dress is not only meant to shame her, but all Trans people.

Again, energy wasted being mean and vile and not making anything any better for anyone.

owe-that-tree-an-apology

Who wins a civil war?

Who wins a civil war? The divides in America are very clear. There’s Rural America, and there’s Urban America.

If you look back at history, one thing is pretty plain. Wars suck. Civil wars suck real hard. Modernity is fragile. It goes away quickly under fire.
History shows us that Thomas Jefferson doesn’t usually win a rebellion or civil war. Tom Paine doesn’t do well, most of the time. John Adams doesn’t get much sway.

History shows us that Robespierre wins the conflict. Ho Chi Mihn. Castro. Joe Stalin. Mao. If there’s a war, often psychopaths and violent lunatics come to the top. And, it seems like human nature. When there’s a violent lunatic, in a war, everyone once in a blue moon, he starts surrounding himself with sycophants, yes-men, mooks, and flunkies.

And if that group is successful, well, say good-bye to any principles or ethics. Psychos like that love to pretend that every vile, evil thing they do is legal and justifiable.

Now.

If there’s a rural vs urban WAR in the US, let me tell you. It’s going to be made of shit, and awful and stands a very good chance of handing everything over to some mass murdering psychopath.

Don’t just take my word for it. Look at every rebellion, revolution and civil war in the last 120 years, and then try to map that onto the United States.

If there is an Urban vs Rural war in the United States, it will be not fun. And we stand a very good chance… you and I, me – Jay and you the person reading this. We stand a chance of not being alive by the end of it. Almost certainly the US will be a third world shit hole after this war and staying there forever.

This is why I say do not unseat Trump. If you tell rural America that their voices don’t count, that they have no place in the political system, then you’re breaking the social contract that says politics is preferable to violence.

Trump is an idiot and can do a lot of damage. But I doubt he can destroy the idea of the United States. I doubt he can destroy the very idea that you can drive across your town and only have to pay traffic fines and taxes to your local government, and not bribes to whatever gang/militia can set up a checkpoint along your path.

Unseating Trump could lead to chaos, mayhem, destruction and mass suffering.

I’d rather take my chances with Trump than try to survive the second civil war.

Apparently, a lot of Urban Americans are not really clear on the intricate, delicate and fragile network that keeps American cities alive.

I don’t want to be there when this lesson gets taught by hard, cold experience. I *like* living inside. I like light, heat, water, sewage, and the internet. It’s 5 degrees (f) in Spokane, as I write this. I don’t want to have to try and tough this shit out on the street while starving dirty and wading through shit.

Our ancestors did this. They worked hard to set it up so we don’t have to.

The answer is, usually power mad psychopaths win a civil war.  But really, we all stand to lose.  And lose big.

Do not unseat Trump

Okay. I am speaking in a real politik mode, here. I don’t like this sort of thinking,but we don’t live in a world where people are taught “What’s the principle, here?”

So. I am going to lead off with something sort of ugly that people don’t like to hear. Voting is a proxy for a civil war. Instead of fighting and the side that wins battles, wins campaigns and takes territory, we just sort of short cut to the side with more voters.

Representative democracy is where factions that might otherwise be sides in a civil war cooperate to divide spoils and share power.

Humans generally prefer this sort of thing because it’s a lot more orderly, less violent, less destructive and brings less suffering than really fighting. Once we’ve reduced a civil war to voting, and everyone agrees – then a political process takes over and we can go about our daily business and build our normal lives.

You see civil wars in cases where a faction doesn’t see the advantage to participating in voting and the political process, or where a faction or group is excluded from the political process. You see this in Africa a lot. Someone claws their way into the presidency and then doesn’t share shit. That leaves his rivals with the choice of fighting, or being excluded entirely.

You also see it in cases where a faction can’t score a total win in the political process and their leadership doesn’t feel like compromising or sharing.

A lot of third world countries have problems putting together the “Social Contract” to allow a political process to substitute for and displace actual war for the spoils and power.

So.

Recently the U.S. elected Donald J, Trump as president. I think this has been a horrible mistake. I though George W. Bush was a mistake. I though re-electing GWB was complicity in war crimes.

I think voting for Obama was an understandable mistake, but a mistake none the less.

But, if some parliamentary slight-of-hand is used to undo the election, and prevent Trump from taking his turn, then what has been said there?

60 million people voted for Orange Leader. 60 million people said “That Guy”

If this is undone, what you’ve said to these people is that they are not invited to the political process – their votes and desires don’t count.

If they can’t get something from the political process, what’s their fall-back? How CAN they get what they want?

Using parliamentary fuckery to undo the election would be a disaster. A worse one than letting The First Cheeto fuck shit up.

If you look at the election map county by county, the divide is plain. This was a Rural versus Urban election.

I really hope that this divide does NOT continue to expand this way. It doesn’t go to good places.

Some people have pointed out a structural flaw in our system. The election is one-size-fits-all, winner take all.

Other democracies use a proportional representational system, where each political side gets a number of parliamentary seats commensurate with the number of votes they get. This means there is rarely a clear winner, and this can be undone. Political factions have to cooperate to form a government, which must reward the factions cooperating to make it.

Also, other democracies are smaller, and so aren’t trying to make a compromise that fits 300 million people from all these diverse backgrounds, priorities and needs.

As long as things stay centralized in Washington DC, and as long as the elections are so solidly winner takes all, this Rural v Urban divide will get worse.

If we take it as a given that government is a good thing (I don’t) then our current form needs to be remodeled to fit current needs. We have patterns that have been “working” better for quite a while.

If you asked me to remodel the US, I’d replace all state governments with proportional representative parliaments, and then put them all into a federated system. 50 reasonably sized countries flying mostly in formation. That wouldn’t really address the Urban v Rural conflict, but Urban parties would have to compromise with Rural parties or never get enough of a majority to get things done.

Okay, each state gets a bicameral legislature, a popularly elected side, and county-by-county side.

Anyway, this is all blah-di-blah.

Humans like our social order. We like stable, orderly worlds to live in.

Breaking that sucks. For everyone. Ask Syria. Ask Libya. Ask Iraq.

For most folks, a bad order is preferable to chaos and violence.

Right now, we still have some semblance of order, we still have the ghost of law and civilization hanging around.

But Rural America needs to be included. No matter how bad an idea I think Trump is, I think telling his voters that their votes don’t count is far, far worse. Because where do they go from there?

I suspect that Trump is ill-suited for the Job. I wonder if he might quit, at a certain point, leaving us with President Pence. But that’s all survivable. Breaking things badly enough to cause a war – America does not know suck like that’ll bring.

Really. Let’s not go there.

Ukraine Crisis

I am posting this here to make a timeline of the Ukraine Crisis for next time someone says that Russia is being aggressive.

Remember also that Ukraine was the highway Napolean and the Nazis used to invade Russia, so it’s not unreasonable for Russia to be a little sensitive about just who’s playing around there.

Here is a link to the Victoria Nuland Call – this happened before the elected government of Ukraine was over thrown

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

Here is a description of the 2014 coup, which does not mention U.S, or western involvement.  It does mention in passing that Ultra-Right Wing factions were involved.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Ukrainian_revolution

Here is a description of “Right Sector”, now a political party but before the revolution, a coalition of far right groups, including Nazi Fucks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Sector

The actual Nazi Fucks
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social-National_Assembly

Note the “Not-a-Swaztika” symbol in their seal –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfsangel

Here is an article about the US Congress going back on it’s agreement against funding Nazi Fucks

Congress Quietly Kills Ban On Funding Neo-Nazis In Ukraine

It is chock full of links-out and references

Here is John J. Mearsheimer  explaining why the US and the west are not blameless, but it requires registering

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2014-08-18/why-ukraine-crisis-west-s-fault